Boeing has partnered with 10 aerospace suppliers that have operations in Germany to support its bid to supply CH-47 Chinooks for the nation’s heavy-lift helicopter competition.
In addition to several German equipment and training specialist suppliers, the group includes CAE, Diehl Defence, Honeywell, Liebherr, Rockwell Collins and Rolls-Royce.
Boeing says it reached agreements with the partners to provide “local long-term support and training” services, including maintenance, air crew and technical training, research and development efforts, and “supply chain enhancements”.
The initial group represent the “first of many partners” for the programme and “additional German companies will be joining Boeing’s industrial plan for collaboration on communication and mission systems integration”, the US airframer says.
Speaking at the ILA air show in Berlin on 25 April, Boeing’s director for vertical lift programmes in Germany, Michael Hostetter, ruled out a German Chinook production line because that would be incompatible with the country’s “very clear” requirement to have a “low-risk, off-the-shelf” solution.
He says the tandem-rotor helicopter would provide a “proven and reliable” and “extremely affordable” platform for the Bundeswehr.
Boeing’s offer will either be based on the standard CH-47F model or extended-range MH-47G version; both variants can be fitted with in-flight refuelling systems – a key requirement for Germany, says Hostetter.
However, he declines to elaborate on any potential further configurations, as Berlin has not yet released a final request for proposals. That is expected by year-end, or in early 2019.
Hostetter says Boeing will be able to deliver aircraft from its Philadelphia production line with a lead time of 36-40 months.
Boeing adds that if Germany were to select the Chinook, the aircraft would provide the country with “interoperability that other helicopters cannot” as several regional neighbours – the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey and the UK – operate the type.
Sikorsky's CH-53K is the other contender for the heavy-lift helicopter contract.