Germany’s Rheinmetall Group and Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky signed a strategic teaming agreement to offer the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter in the German Air Force heavy lift helicopter competition, or Schwerer Transporthubschrauber.
The German Bundeswehr plans to buy 45-60 new heavy-lift helicopters to replace its current CH-53G fleet beginning in 2023. According to Reuters, the contract is worth €4 billion ($4.72 billion).
Rheinmetall and Sikorsky “will lead a team of German industrial providers to offer the best solution for STH, including dependable maintenance, training and other program support,” the companies said in a joint press release on Tuesday.
“With Rheinmetall as the strategic partner for Sikorsky, we are convinced that together we provide the best possible state-of-the-art aircraft for the German Air Force as successor for the legacy CH-53G fleet,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said. “Furthermore, we stand strongly together in offering a cost-effective, reliable solution oriented to the needs of today’s operations, and able to evolve with the Armed Forces as its needs change over time.”
Sikorsky promotes the CH-53K for use in humanitarian missions, troop aid, special operations, search and rescue and casualty evacuation. The CH-53K can carry up to 27,000 lbs. (12,200 kilograms) over 110 natural miles (204 kilometers), more than tripling the load of Sikorsky’s CH-53E helicopter.
The company is currently developing the helicopter for the U.S. Marine Corps with plans for them to be fully operational in 2019.
Boeing is expected to bid on the contract, offering its CH-47 Chinook.