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See inside Marine One, the soundproof presidential helicopter that can seat 14 people and deploy anti-missile defenses

Talia Lakritz   

See inside Marine One, the soundproof presidential helicopter that can seat 14 people and deploy anti-missile defenses
Marine One departs the South Lawn of the White House.Official White House Photo by Carlos Fyfe
  • Presidents travel in helicopters that are called Marine One when carrying the president.
  • The aircraft feature extensive security measures and spacious, soundproof interiors.

US presidents travel in style with secure, state-of-the-art vehicles such as Air Force One and the bulletproof presidential limousine known as "The Beast."

Marine One, the presidential helicopter, is another such mode of transportation. With spacious, soundproof interiors, advanced defense systems, and a landing zone on the White House lawn, the white-topped helicopters are often the most convenient way for presidents to get from place to place.

Take a look inside the Marine One models used by modern presidents.

Similar to Air Force One, any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president of the United States uses the call sign Marine One.

Similar to Air Force One, any Marine Corps aircraft carrying the president of the United States uses the call sign Marine One.
Marine One lands at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.      Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

President Dwight Eisenhower was the first president to fly in a helicopter in an official capacity in 1957, according to the US Naval Institute.

The helicopter is equipped with extensive security measures.

The helicopter is equipped with extensive security measures.
President Joe Biden boards Marine One in Seoul, South Korea.      Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Marine One features antimissile countermeasures, ballistic armor, secure communication lines, and radar-jamming technology.

In case of a crash, it also has self-sealing fuel tanks and energy-absorbing landing gear to help prevent fires and extensive damage.

The president always flies with at least one other decoy Marine One as additional protection.

The president always flies with at least one other decoy Marine One as additional protection.
Marine One carrying President Joe Biden and a decoy helicopter lift off from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.      JULIA NIKHINSON/AFP via Getty Images

There can be up to five Marine One helicopters flying at one time to obscure the president's exact location, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. The helicopters also frequently change positions after takeoff to make it harder to determine which one the president is on.

Marine One travels abroad with the president, as well.

Marine One travels abroad with the president, as well.
President Joe Biden greets the pilots of Marine One.      Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Military cargo aircraft transport Marine One helicopters abroad and remain on standby at local airports in case of emergency during foreign visits, according to the US Naval Institute.

Marine One can fit between 11 and 14 passengers, depending on the model.

Marine One can fit between 11 and 14 passengers, depending on the model.
President Barack Obama meets with staffers aboard Marine One.      Official White House photo by Pete Souza

A Black Hawk model called the VH-60N White Hawk can fit 11 passengers, and the Sikorsky VH-3D Sea King helicopters can fit 14, according to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Both are used as presidential transports.

Presidents often meet with staffers aboard Marine One.

Presidents often meet with staffers aboard Marine One.
President Barack Obama talks with Chief of Staff Bill Daley, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon aboard Marine One.      Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

The helicopter is so soundproof that passengers can speak at a normal volume.

Marine One also includes perks like 200 square feet of interior space and a bathroom.

It's also used to transport the president for shorter trips to places like Camp David and Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to board Air Force One.

It
The South Portico of the White House is seen from aboard Marine One as it approaches the South Lawn.      Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Flying across Washington, DC, in a helicopter is more efficient than snarling traffic in a presidential motorcade.

Marine One picks the president up on the South Lawn of the White House.

Marine One picks the president up on the South Lawn of the White House.
Marine One, carrying President Donald J. Trump, lifts off from the South Lawn of the White House.      Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Two newer Sikorsky VH-92A Patriot models built by Lockheed Martin debuted in 2021 with the goal of eventually replacing the older Marine One helicopters. Each new aircraft cost $218 million, CT Insider reported.

Bloomberg reported that the new Sikorsky helicopters are no longer in regular use because the engines kept burning the White House lawn.

Upon boarding and landing, the president is greeted by Marines wearing the Marine Blue Dress uniform.

Upon boarding and landing, the president is greeted by Marines wearing the Marine Blue Dress uniform.
President Donald Trump boards Marine One.      Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

President Barack Obama sparked controversy in 2013 when he seemingly forgot to return a Marine's salute and doubled back to shake his hand while boarding Marine One, NPR reported.

However, while Army personnel in uniform are required to salute the president, the president doesn't have to return the gesture. The New York Times reported that President Ronald Reagan was the first president to start returning soldiers' salutes in 1981.

The aircraft is stocked with water bottles and snacks including boxes of presidential M&Ms.

The aircraft is stocked with water bottles and snacks including boxes of presidential M&Ms.
President Barack Obama reads a morning newspaper aboard Marine One.      Official White House photo by Pete Souza

The president's seat is the only forward-facing captain's chair on the aircraft aside from the seats occupied by the pilot and copilot, The Points Guy reported.

After his first ride in Marine One in 2009, Obama said that the helicopter was "very smooth" and "very impressive."

"You go right over the Washington Monument and then, you know, kind of curve in by the Capitol," he said. "It was spectacular."

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