Air Platforms

Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall team for German Sea Lynx replacement effort

15 October 2018

The German Navy has 21 Sea Lynx helicopters that it is looking to begin replacing from about 2023. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Lockheed Martin is to team with Rheinmetall in its bid to replace the German Navy's (Deutsche Marine - DM) ageing Westland Mk 88A Sea Lynx anti-submarine warfare/anti-surface warfare (ASW/ASuW) helicopters, the US manufacturer announced on 12 October.

The two companies signed a letter of intent (LOI) to partner on offering the Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk helicopter as a replacement for the DM's 21 Sea Lynxes.

Although the precise timeline for Sea Lynx replacement programme has yet to be disclosed, Jane's was told by industry representatives at the Berlin Security Conference (BSC) in 2017 that a contract is expected in 2020/21 time, ahead of an entry-into-service date of 2023 and full-operating capability in 2025.

In all, the DM is looking for between 18 and 24 new helicopters to replace the Sea Lynxes, with the chosen platform being able to fulfil both a shipborne ASW and an ASuW capability.

While the details of the Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall bid have not been disclosed, the MH-60R is equipped with the Thales/Raytheon AQS-22 Airborne Low-Frequency Sonar (ALFS) and previous Foreign Military Sales of the type have included torpedos, 12.7 mm GAU-21 (M3M) and 7.62 mm M240 (FN MAG) machine guns, AGM-114 Hellfire laser-guided missiles, and 70 mm rockets that have been upgraded with BAE's Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System laser guidance kit.

Besides Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall, other contenders will comprise Leonardo with its AW159 Lynx Wildcat and Airbus Helicopters with its NH90-derived Sea Lion. The Lynx Wildcat can be configured to carry active dipping sonar (ADS), sonobuoys, and torpedoes, while for the anti-surface warfare role it can be armed with anti-ship missiles, rockets, and guns. An upgraded version of the Sea Lion, known as the Prospective Sea Lion, has been fitted with ASW and ASuW equipment required for the Sea Lynx replacement effort.

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