ILA 2018: Proposals for Germany’s heavy-lift helo delayed, as Boeing and Sikorsky disclose industrial teaming arrangements

26 April 2018
The CH-53K (foreground) and CH-47F (background) both featured on the flightline at the ILA Airshow 2018 in Berlin. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

The request for proposals (RFP) for Germany’s Schwere Transporthubschrauber (STH) heavy-lift helicopter programme that was due to be issued in the coming days is not now expected to be released until the end of the year, industry sources disclosed at the ILA Airshow in Berlin.

Senior representatives of the two competing manufacturers, Boeing and Sikorsky, said the RFP for between 40 and 60 new heavy-lift helicopters to replace the Luftwaffe’s 70 CH-53GA/GS/GE platforms is likely to be issued in December. Previously, the Bundeswehr had told Jane’s that it would be released in May.

No reason for the delay in the issuance of the RFP was given, but it is not expected to affect the timetable for the STH procurement which is scheduled to see a contract award in the fourth quarter of 2020 ahead of deliveries to take place between 2023 and 2031.

Briefing at the ILA Airshow on 25 and 26 April respectively, Boeing and Sikorsky announced that they had signed up 10 German companies each to serve as industrial partners. For Boeing, its CH-47F Chinook team comprises Aero Bildung, CAE, Aircraft Philipp, Cotesa Composites, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce, Diehl Defence, Liebherr, Reiser, and Rockwell Collins. For Sikorsky, its CH-53K King Stallion team comprises Rheinmetall, MTU, ZFL, Autoflug, Hydro, Rockwell Collins, Jenoptik, Hensoldt, Liebherr, and Rohde & Schwarz. Both camps noted that additional partners could be added as the programme progresses.

Speaking ahead of the ILA Airshow, Colonel Bernhard Martin of the Luftwaffe’s Plans and Policy Office spelled out some of the history of the STH requirement, the goals the Luftwaffe has for the requirement, and the current state of proceedings.

“[For] the CH-53 in use today a number of capability shortfalls have been identified and it is expected to be removed from service in 2025,” Col Martin said.

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