"take note everyone, US protectionism is on its way.
but then a nation that large doesn't really have an option, does it ?"
While there certainly is a protectionist element in this country which lobbied hard to give contract to Sikorsky, I don't think this particular case has much to do with protectionism. We're talking about a helicopter that's going to cost $400 million per unit (two times the initial budget) and we plan to buy TWENTY EIGHT of them. Do you have any idea how expensive that is? As Lewis pointed out, EACH UNIT is more expensive than Air Force one. The US could buy THREE F-22 Raptors for the price of each helicopter and, by the the way, helicopters are much more expensive to maintain than fixed-wing.
The specifications that make this helicopter so enormously expensive don't seem to be publicly available. I would very much like to see them, as I cannot see any possible way to justify a $200 million dollar transport helicopter, let alone $400 million. For some perspective, the CH-47 Chinook dual-rotor helicopter runs around $10 million per unit. The Apache Longbow, which is the most sophisticated and heavily-armored helicopter is around $16 million.
The best argument I've heard so far is that it's the limited production run that's making this helicopter so expensive. I cannot see why this wasn't taken into account when they were thinking up the contract. Why couldn't they just modify an existing helicopter to suit the president?
I'm all for buying out of country so long as the military is getting the highest quality product for the lowest price (like the EADS deal on the KC-X for instance). In this case, the taxpayer is getting screwed.