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US President Joe Biden’s New Helicopter Marine One Hits Setback: It’s Unreliable In Crisis



US President's New Helicopter Hits Setback: It's Unreliable In Crisis

Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC.

US President Joe Biden’s first flight on the new presidential helicopter built by Lockheed Martin Corp is being delayed after a report by the Pentagon’s testing unit warned that it’s not yet “operationally suitable” or sufficiently reliable — especially in an emergency.

The Biden administration hasn’t yet determined if the helicopter can be put into operation because it’s still assessing its safety, according to a US official who asked not to be identified discussing the internal deliberations. The White House Military Office will determine the timeline.

The helicopter is “failing to meet the reliability, availability or maintainability threshold requirements” set for it, according to an internal summary prepared for senior defense officials by the Pentagon testing office and obtained by Bloomberg News.

The VH-92 helicopter program is a $5 billion, 23-aircraft program to replace the current aging fleet used by the president and other top officials. The previously unpublished testing report, dated September 28, said the aircraft is “operationally effective” for routine “administrative” missions like a run to Camp David or delivering the president to Joint Base Andrews outside Washington for a preplanned trip on Air Force One.

But it wasn’t effective “for the contingency operation mission,” a reference to emergency flights. The “Mission Communication System (MCS) often delayed critical communications at the beginning of contingency missions and did not adequately support timely, continuous and secure communications,” the test office found.

The Naval Air Systems Command’s program office stamped the 28-page testing report “Controlled Unclassified Information,” a new label being used increasingly by the military services to restrict the public dissemination of program cost and performance data.

“The VH-92 report was marked CUI to protect critical technical information and operational security,” Captain Clay Doss, a Navy spokesman, said in a statement. “An unclassified/releasable synopsis will be included in” the Pentagon test office’s annual report, he said. That report is typically published in January.

Presidential Symbol

With its emblematic “white top” paint job, Marine One — its designation when the president is on board — is almost as much a symbol of the American presidency as the Air Force One jetliner. Crowds of reporters and White House guests regularly gather to see the president depart and return aboard the helicopter. The current fleet entered duty in 1975, with a newer model added in 1989. Earlier plans for a replacement from Lockheed were canceled in 2009 after that program was plagued by soaring costs and schedule delays.

The Marines, in coordination with the White House Military Office, had planned to declare in July that the helicopter had an “Initial Operational Capability.” That already was a delay from June 2020 and then January. That designation would have been followed by the military office assigning missions. Neither has happened.

The Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test and Evaluation assessed the helicopter’s performance during three months of testing ending April 15. Marine Corps Major General Gregory Masiello, the program manager, told a Navy audience on August 3 that “the squadron and the program are ready today.”

The Marine test squadron flew 18 sorties over 131 flight hours with scenarios inside and outside the National Capital Region, including to Camp David, to assess the chopper’s basic operational effectiveness and maintenance capability. Jessica Maxwell, a spokeswoman for the testing office, said in an email that the flight tests were designed to answer the question: Is it “effective and suitable to perform transport of the President, Vice President, cabinet members and heads of state?”

The test office declined to answer any questions about the results because they were deemed “controlled unclassified information,” Maxwell said.

Mission Communications System “instability, cabin interior flaws, frequent maintenance inspections and rear air-stair door components contributed to low aircraft availability,” the test office concluded. The lack of a “communication system diagnostic capability” at the squadron level “and time required to access” communication system components “hampered the squadron’s ability to maintain the aircraft,” it said.

Scorched Lawn

In addition, the VH-92 program office still hasn’t solved the problem of the new helicopter potentially scorching the grass in the landing zone on the White House South Lawn. Spinning rotors and engine exhaust cause scorching in limited circumstances that first occurred in September 2018.

“Engine exhaust and fluid discharge cause landing zone damage limitations, limiting the number of available landing zones,” according to the summary. The Marines should “continue to reduce effects of engine exhaust and fluid discharges.”

Megan Wasel, a spokeswoman for the program office said it “continues to work closely” with the Marine Corps and the White House Military Office “to execute a seamless transition from the current in-service” copter to the VH-92. Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed has been provided the test report, Wasel said.

“The report did not raise any issues” that the program office and Marine Corps “were unaware of, or the issues were previously corrected,” said Major Jorge Hernandez, spokesman for the Marine aviation deputy commandant. The office “cannot speculate as to when” the White House will give approval to start missions, he said.

John Dorrian, a spokesman for Lockheed’s Sikorsky aircraft division, said “we are pleased our customer awarded us a contract for the final five production helicopters” in February. He said “Sikorsky continues to work closely with our customer to ensure the aircraft meets all operational requirements.”

The Navy placed the final batch of a total 23 production and test aircraft on contract on February 5, three days before operational testing began. The service has already spent more than $1.5 billion on the program.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


Bihar CM asks health officials to be on guard against new Covid variant



Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday asked health officials of the state to remain vigilant in the wake of reports of a new coronavirus variant triggering fear across the world which is still recovering from the devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kumar shared his thoughts on Omicron, the new variant, at a meeting where he reviewed the health department’s functioning.

He called for keeping a close watch on those coming to the state from abroad and quick testing of samples if anybody presented symptoms.

Cases of the new coronavirus variant have been reported mainly from South Africa, besides European countries like the United Kingdom and Belgium.

The chief minister also underscored that the threat of COVID-19, which has caused large-scale devastation in the country, including Bihar, was far from over and stressed on the need for inoculation of citizens.

According to the state health department, more than eight crore people have got the COVID vaccine jabs in Bihar which has a total population of about 13 crore.

The chief minister directed the officials to ensure that those who had got only one shot should be fully vaccinated as soon as they were deemed fit for the second jab.

The meeting was attended, among others, by health minister Mangal Pandey, chief secretary Tripurari Sharan and additional chief secretary (health) Pratyay Amrit.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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The Plot In You Announce Debut New Zealand Shows w/ ERRA



Ohio’s The Plot In You are heading our way in spring 2022 for two massive North Island shows. Now based in Miami, the four piece are basking in the alt-rock / hardcore glow of their fifth studio album Swan Song, which dropped in September this year to glowing reviews, and was written as an exercise in catharsis after “years of negativity, soured friendships, disappointment, and mistakes”. With a mammoth stint of worldwide touring already well underway, The Plot In You will be a well oiled machine when they hit our shores for the first time next September, joined by fellow US metalcore fiends ERRA at both their Tāmaki Makaurau and Pƍneke shows. As one of the first overseas acts to announce a New Zealand tour since recent international travel news, you might want to act fast on tickets – pre sales go live tomorrow morning, with early birds and general tickets to be released in early December. Get the full run down below…

The Plot In You ‘Swan Song’ Tour w/ ERRA

Tuesday 27th September – Neck Of The Woods, Auckland
Wednesday 28th September – Valhalla, Wellington
General On-Sale available HERE via UTR from 10am NZST, Friday 3rd December 

Spotify presale available from 9am NZST, Tuesday 30th November
Fan Early Bird Presale available HERE from 5pm NZST, Wednesday 1st December

From new album Swan Song, watch The Plot In You’s cinematic clip for ‘Face Me’…

Press release:

Ohio quartet THE PLOT IN YOU announce the Swan Song Australian and New Zealand tour which will hit all capital cities in September 2022. Their debut national headline tour will be joined by five-piece progressive metalcore heavyweights and very special guests, ERRA.

After racking up over 100 million streams and receiving praise from Billboard, Rock Sound, Alternative Press, and more, THE PLOT IN YOU have crafted music that addresses the end of various things and situations in life.

In September, THE PLOT IN YOU released their fifth full-length album, Swan Song. Sonically and spiritually, Swan Song stares down at years of negativity, soured friendships, disappointment, and mistakes and flush it all away in the wake of hammering distortion, towering melodies, cinematic production, and unapologetically cathartic lyrics.

The record received glowing reviews globally. With Hysteria Magazine saying, “In a triumphant fashion, Swan Song may well be the group’s most audacious; genre bending and diverse album to date.” And Wall Of Sound said, “If Swan Song was indeed The Plot In You’s final album, then it would see the four-piece bowing out on a high, at both their popular and creative peak.”

THE PLOT IN YOU’s last visit to our shows saw them supporting Polaris in 2018 for the sold out national ‘The Mortal Coil Tour’ and had critics raving about their flawless live show.

Hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, ERRA’s namesake comes from Akkadian mythology and represents mayhem. Their technical sound and writing is taken by influences from well-respected groups like Misery Signals, Born of Osiris and Saosin. They thrive on being creative and showcasing their talent through their intense live performances and offering their refreshing sound. Their 2020 self-titled album saw them receiving high praise from fans and music critics alike.

The Swan Song tour is one tour you won’t want to miss as it graces Australian shores in September. Grab a ticket while you can!

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The Equalizer season 2 episode 8 return date for Queen Latifah, cast



The EqualizerFollowing tonight’s new episode, are you eager to get The Equalizer season 2 episode 8 return date? What about a good sense of what could be coming next?

There are a few different things that we should get into here, but let’s begin by sharing some of the unfortunate news: All signs point to you waiting a good while to see the series back on the air. Because of various holiday-related programs, we know that CBS is set up with programming from now until Christmas Day and no more episodes of the Queen Latifah series are on the schedule. It’s unlikely that they would air an episode in between Christmas and New Year’s, so the earliest we would expect to see the show back is in early January.

What will the writers bring to the table at that point? More than likely, there are a few different things that they will circle for Robyn McCall. At the forefront of all of them will be how she continues to balance out her job and trying to still have some semblance of a normal life. Is it possible of her to retain any anonymity? Also, what sort of clients will require her services? We’re sure there will be some external pressure for the writers to want to accelerate the stakes to some degree, but we don’t think that creating bigger action sequences is the most feasible way forward. Instead, we imagine that we’ll get a handful of character-focused stories that enable us to better understand this ensemble. While McCall is and should always be the primary focus, we don’t want to pretend as though she’s the only part of the show.

Expect at least two or three new The Equalizer episodes to air in January; then, there could be another hiatus brought on by awards shows, the NFL, and also the Olympics. In general, the schedule is going to be a little bit weird until March.

Related – Be sure to get some more news when it comes to The Equalizer right now

What do you most want to see when it comes to The Equalizer season 2 episode 8?

Be sure to share right now in the comments! Once you do just that, stick around — there are other updates coming and we don’t want you to miss them. (Photo: CBS.)

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