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Germany postpones heavy-lift helicopter contest

Germany has postponed the start of an acquisition of new heavy-lift helicopters for its air force, throwing the timeline for retiring the service's ageing Sikorsky CH-53G fleet into doubt.

Berlin had been expected to launch the procurement this year, choosing between the new CH-53K and Boeing's CH-47 Chinook. However, both potential bidders were notified in late September that the process had been put on hold.

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Messe Berlin

In a letter to the two manufacturers, Germany's BAAINBw federal procurement body says the acquisition is "postponed until further notice".

A formal request for proposals had been expected by the end of September, but the relevant budget has yet to be authorised by the German parliament, preventing the process from advancing.

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Messe Berlin

Previous timelines for the expected 60-unit buy envisaged a contract award in 2020, with the first aircraft to arrive in 2023.

The current fleet of elderly CH-53G/GA/GS helicopters is due to be phased out from 2025.

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