Germany's final 2019 defence budget approved by the Bundestag (parliament) budget committee on 9 November includes an authorisation commitment of EUR5.6 billion (USD6.3 billion) for the Luftwaffe's future Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (heavy transport helicopter: STH). This is the largest line item in the final defence budget, according to the German Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Visiting the air transport group of Hubschraubergeschwader (Helicopter Squadron) 64 in Schönewalde with Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Air Force Chief General Ingo Gerhartz welcomed the fact "that the government has given more money for the urgently required modernisation of the Luftwaffe, especially for the next generation of transport helicopters, which we need for almost all deployments worldwide".
Von der Leyen said procurement officials must take the next steps as quickly as possible, requiring a solution that is already available on the market so the Luftwaffe's CH-53 fleet can be completely replaced by the end of the 2020s. The German MoD said a newly developed helicopter is "out of the question", with the Boeing CH-47E and Sikorsky CH-53 "appearing to be appropriate".
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