Two years from now recommendations for a future heavy transport helicopter will be presented to the member states of the European Defence Agency.
A 24-month study began on 18 May, with the approval of the EDA's ministers. This will evaluate requirements and three candidate helicopters: the Boeing CH-47F Chinook, Mil Mi-26 and Sikorsky CH-53K.
The aim is to provide a solution for intra-theatre heavylift capability in the years after 2020. France and Germany, which initiated the idea, already have common staff requirements for the future helicopter. And during the first year of the study period an agreement for requirements is also to be reached with the other EDA states.
"The requirements that we agree will set out the missions and quantities of helicopters to procure," EDA technology manager Jerome Garcia told Flight International during the 3rd European Conference for Aerospace Sciences in Paris.
As part of the study, possible western European industrial structures for any procurement process involving the development of third party helicopters will also be investigated.