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Air Platforms

Berlin Security Conference 2017: Germany’s heavy-lift helo project relatively unaffected by country’s political problems

28 November 2017

Lockheed Martin does not expect the current difficulties in forming a new German government to have too much of an effect on its efforts to sell its CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter into the country.

A model of the CH-53K King Stallion in German colours being displayed at the Paris Airshow earlier in 2017. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)A model of the CH-53K King Stallion in German colours being displayed at the Paris Airshow earlier in 2017. (IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings)

Speaking to Jane’s in late November ahead of the Berlin Security Conference (BSC), Frank Crisafulli, business development lead for heavy-lift helicopters at Sikorsky said that, while there is some current ‘churn’ within the German political establishment which might cause some short-term slippage, its effect on the Luftwaffe’s Schweren Transporthubschrauber (STH) requirement should not be too great.

“There has been a bit of a delay, but we understand that [the next stage] has now gone all the way through the approval channels up to the point of sign-off. There has been some change and churn in the government, which may play in to [the delays] a little bit,” Crisafulli said.

Crisafulli said that for the STH requirement that will see Lockheed Martin go up against Boeing and its CH-47F Chinook, the company is now waiting on the German government to hold an industry day to be followed by a request for proposals (RFP). After these steps, a declaration from the German government as to its preferred solution is expected to be made.

The Luftwaffe is looking to procure up to 41 new heavy-lift helicopters to replace its ageing VFW-Sikorsky CH-53G-series platforms, with deliveries slated to begin in 2022.

As part of its preparatory work, the company recently visited the Luftwaffe’s two main CH-53 operating bases at Laupheim and Holzdorf to look at what infrastructure might be required and to answer questions from the service.

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