Sikorsky adds German partners in battle for helicopter tender
The German Bundeswehr started in December 2017 a tender for a new heavy lift helicopter. In an attempt to win the competition, Sikorsky announced several partnerships with German companies.
In order to replace its current fleet of CH-53G Sea Stallion, the Bundeswehr could acquire between 45 and 60 heavy lift helicopters. Including the cost of the maintenance, that contract could represent up to €4 billion. Since Airbus Helicopters catalogue lacks such a model (the Heavy Transport Helicopter program being unheard of for years), the two only competitors are U.S. manufacturers: Boeing with the emblematic CH-47F Chinook and Sikorsky with its CH-53K King Stallion that should be combat ready by 2019.
The German industry was concerned that this contract would not provide any domestic jobs after the Bundeswehr announced that the maintenance would also be operated by the manufacturer. To tip the scales in its favor by winning the local trust, Boeing reminded its “strong relations” with local German companies. However, Sikorsky counter-attacked by forming a partnership with Rheinmetall and MTU Aero Engines if they were to win the tender. On April 18, 2018, Sikorsky announced its decision to partner up with even more German companies to produce the massive CH-53K. The whole industrial team should be presented during ILA Berlin Air Show between April 25 and 29, 2018.
The Bundeswehr should award the contract to the winner by 2020 and deliveries are expected by 2023.
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