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

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”.

For its STH requirement, Germany is looking to replace the Luftwaffe's 70 VFW-Sikorsky CH-53G-series Stallions with between 40 and 60 Boeing CH-47F Extended Range (ER) Block 2 Chinooks or CH-53K King Stallion helicopters.

Having cancelled the Direct Commercial Sale (DCS) competition in September 2020, saying the project would be unlikely to be realised within the allocated budget while meeting all of the Luftwaffe's requirements, the German government then requested in early 2021 that the US government provide it with Foreign Military Sales (FMS) pricing for both the Chinook and King Stallion. Lockheed Martin protested this decision, telling Janes

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