Sikorsky has selected MTU to be its engine maintenance partner as part of a bid to supply the US manufacturer’s CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter to the German air force.

MTU says it signed an agreement with Sikorsky to provide maintenance, repair and overhaul services for the aircraft’s GE Aviation T408-GE-400 engines should Germany order the developmental CH-53K to replace its ageing fleet of CH-53G/GA/GS helicopters.

In late 2017, Berlin gave the go-ahead for its BAAINBw procurement agency to begin the acquisition of around 60 helicopters. As an alternative to the CH-53K, the country is considering Boeing's CH-47F Chinook.

MTU already manufactures the T408’s power turbine, exhaust casing and output shaft, representing an 18% share in the engine programme. The Munich-based engine subassembly manufacturer and maintenance provider has previously serviced a range of aero engines for the German armed forces.

Sikorsky and GE Aviation have won contracts to supply 200 CH-53K transports and 800 T408 engines to the US Marine Corps. The helicopter is powered by three T408 engines.

MTU senior vice-president defence Klaus Gunther says the T408 will “ensure that missions can be safely carried out even in the harshest operating environments”. With the CH-53K, Germany would “receive a highly-advanced system that is optimally designed for the missions of the coming decades”, he adds.

Sikorsky has also signed up Rheinmetall as a partner on the project.