U.S. helicopter maker Sikorsky formally responded to the German Air Force “Schwerer Transporthubschrauber” (STH) Program call for competition.
According to the news release, Sikorsky expects to offer the most modern heavy lift helicopter in production, the CH-53K King Stallion, in response to the official Request for Proposals, which is expected this summer. The new STH heavy lifter will allow the Bundeswehr to move troops and equipment more quickly, safely and effectively than ever before.
“The CH-53K is the modern heavy lift solution that will provide the German Armed Forces with a safe, reliable heavy lift helicopter that can be entered into service seamlessly without need for upgrades for the next several decades. It is the only heavy lifter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond,” said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz. “Our strong German industry team will provide sustainment and maintenance over the next 40-50 years ensuring high-quality jobs across the country for decades to come.”
Sikorsky and its Germany industry partners, including Rheinmetall, remain confident that the Sikorsky CH-53K offers the best value to the Bundeswehr and offers unrivaled growth potential over its lifecycle. German partners include: Rheinmetall, MTU, ZF Luftfahrttechnik GmbH, Autoflug, HYDRO Systems KG, Collins Aerospace, Vincorion, Hensoldt, Liebherr and Rohde & Schwarz.
“Sikorsky is already today in close partnerships with more than 10 leading German technology companies, including the exclusive teammates Rheinmetall, MTU, Autoflug and HYDRO,” said Susanne Wiegand, Member of the Management Board, Rheinmetall Defence. “This team is a fundamental key factor for a successful STH program, high availability rates of the helicopters and creates best added value for Germany and its industry. We are looking forward that the procurement decision will be made in favor of the CH-53K.”
The CH-53K is not only considered the most powerful but also one of the more expensive with a recurring flyaway cost of $87 million.
The CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter is intended to transport armored vehicles, equipment, and personnel to support operations deep inland from a sea-based center of operations. The CH-53K is expected to replace the legacy CH-53 helicopter and provide increased range and payload, survivability and force protection, reliability and maintainability, and coordination with other assets, while reducing total ownership costs.