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Sikorsky-Rheinmetall, Boeing teams submit proposals for Germany's STH helicopter

The Lockheed Martin Sikorsky-Rheinmetall and Boeing teams submitted their proposals, the CH-53K and H-47, respectively, on 13 January for Germany’s heavy transport helicopter (Schwerer Transporthubschrauber: STH) project to replace the Luftwaffe’s existing CH-53G/GS/GA/GEs.

Sikorsky’s CH-53K (foreground) and Boeing’s CH-47F (background) at the ILA Berlin 2018 airshow in April 2018. (Jane’s/Gareth Jennings)

Sikorsky’s CH-53K (foreground) and Boeing’s CH-47F (background) at the ILA Berlin 2018 airshow in April 2018. (Jane’s/Gareth Jennings)

Lockheed Martin and Rheinmetall announced in a joint press release on 13 January that they had submitted their offer the same day. Mike Schmidt, managing director of Rheinmetall Aviation Services, told German-speaking journalists in Bonn on 13 January after the submission that the indicative offer in areas such as prices and timelines would be followed by negotiations with Germany’s Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr: BAAINBw), beginning in the spring. Working groups covering concepts such as logistics, maintenance, and certification to fly in civil airspace will be set up for the negotiations, leading to a best and final offer by the end of the year and a decision on helicopter type expected in the first quarter of 2021, Schmidt explained, recognising that this is a challenging timeline.

Frank Crisafulli, capture lead of the Sikorsky STH team, said the 1,900-page offer describes a complex aircraft to meet German requirements. He and Schmidt described the CH-53K as a system of systems that is digitalised, enabling in future for remote operations or an optionally piloted helicopter with few modifications.

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