Berlin Security Conference 2021: Lockheed Martin confident STH timeline for Germany can still be met

by Gareth Jennings

The CH-53K was displayed at the last ILA Berlin Airshow in 2018. (Janes/Gareth Jennings)

Lockheed Martin is confident that the Bundeswehr's latest schedule for its Schwere Transporthubschrauber (STH) heavy-lift helicopter programme can still be met, should the protest being heard in the German courts progress in a timely manner.

Speaking to Janes at the Berlin Security Conference (BSC) 2021, company officials said that the timeline of a contract signature in 2023 and deliveries beginning in about 2026 is still tenable should the High Court in Dusseldorf issue its written judgement in the coming weeks on Lockheed Martin's protest at the programme being cancelled in September 2020.

“The timeline depends on how the Bundeswehr moves forward, but a 2023 contract date is still realistic,” Director International CH-53K Programs, Elizabeth Parcella, said on 25 November. Sikorsky's International Business Development official, Christian Albrecht, added, “We would be able to support a transition [to the CH-53K King Stallion] from 2026 onwards, as we will have the production capacity at out Stratford site in Connecticut”.


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Italy and Austria sign G2G agreement for 18 AW169 helicopters

by Georg Mader

Seen in Italian service, the AW169 is to be acquired shortly by Austria also. (Leonardo)

Italy and Austria have entered into a government-to-government (G2G) agreement for the sale and procurement of 18 Leonardo AW169 multirole helicopters for the Austrian Armed Forces (Bundesheer).

Signed on 2 December at the Italian Ministry of Defence in Rome between Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini and Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, the implementation phase of the agreement paves the way for a formal contractual agreement by 20 December and acquisition signature in mid-January 2022. Austria has earmarked between EUR300 million (USD340 million) and EUR400 million for the programme.

According to the Italian National Armaments Directorate (ARMAERO), the contract will cover six helicopters in the AW169B configuration, as well as up to 12 potentially armed AW169MA helicopters. Spares, training, support, and other items will be included in the sale. The agreement also includes an option for a further six AW169Bs and a further 12 AW169MAs; however, it was not said for how long this option will remain valid.


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UAE signs for 80 Rafale F4 combat aircraft

by Gareth Jennings

The UAE is to buy 80 of the latest standard Rafale F4 aircraft from France in a deal announced on 3 December. (French Air and Space Force)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has signed for 80 Dassault Rafale combat aircraft from France, the manufacturer announced on 3 December.

Signed in the presence of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Vice-Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE, Sheikh Mohammed ben Zayed Al Nahyane, the contract covers the F4 aircraft, representing the first export order for the latest standard Rafale that is set to be rolled out to the French armed forces.


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Australian Army launches aviation command

by Jon Grevatt

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, are pictured disembarking from a CH-47F Chinook attached to the 5th Aviation Regiment. On 2 December the Australian Army established a new Aviation Command Unit. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Army launched on 2 December a command unit to optimise its aviation assets and support improved co-ordination across the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr, said at a ceremony in Canberra that the new Army Aviation Command will enhance the service's resilience and adaptability, and ensure its training systems are “agile and contemporary”.

He added, “The alignment of army's aviation capability, under its own command, optimises army aviation to better support land, amphibious, and special operations.”

The new unit will be supported by the 16th Aviation Brigade and Army Aviation Training Centre, which join the unit from the Army Forces Command. The new command also includes the assets of the Australian Army Aviation Corps.

The unit will be commanded by Major General Stephen Jobson. He said changes to the army's aviation command-and-control structure will “simplify the management of [its] helicopters”.


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Lockheed Martin is confident that the Bundeswehr's latest schedule for its Schwere Transporthubschra...

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