Germany’s effort to replace its ageing heavy transport helicopter fleet is gathering pace, with both Boeing and Sikorsky formally confirming their interest in the requirement.
Berlin in February issued a “call for competition” for the Schwerer Transporthubscrauber (STH) programme, requiring responses by late May.
Boeing is offering a variant of the CH-47F Chinook - potentially including in-flight refuelling capability - and points to the interoperability of the tandem-rotor type with other European nations including Italy, the Netherlands and the UK.
Sikorsky, meanwhile, is pitching the CH-53K which it is building for the US Marine Corps.
A request for proposals under the SHT programme is likely to follow by end-June, leading to a contract signature in 2021. First deliveries are due around 36 months later.
Both bidders have assembled local industrial teams for the competition. Boeing’s features Aircraft Philipp, CAE Elektronik, Diehl Defence, Honeywell, Liebherr-Aerospace, Reiser Simulation and Training and Rolls-Royce. Sikorsky’s partners include Hensoldt, Liebherr-Aerospace, MTU, Rheinmetall and ZF.
Germany intends to acquire 40-60 helicopters under the SHT initiative, which stipulates an aircraft with a maximum take-off weight above 20t to replace the Luftwaffe’s current CH-53G/GA/GS fleet, which is struggling with low availability rates.
Berlin has previously inquired about pricing information for 41 CH-53Ks.