Last May, Sikorsky formally entered its CH-53K KING STALLION in the German Air Force Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) New Heavy Lift programme. This January, Boeing announced it is offering Germany a CH-47 CHINOOK similar to the one operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force with an air-to-air refueling probe.
Boeing has left little doubt that, if selected, its Luftwaffe CH-47s will feature significant German content. Michael Hostetter, Vice President for Defense, Space & Security in Germany, explained Boeing “has an established footprint in Germany today, and will expand the partnership with German industry to ensure that the high standards enjoyed by 20 CHINOOK operators worldwide are maintained for the Luftwaffe.” The company has carefully selected several German firms to be part of the CHINOOK Germany Industry Team, to manufacture components and sustain a wide variety of systems at their facilities in Germany. In addition, a German partner will provide training to ensure mission readiness and maintenance for the Luftwaffe for the duration of the programme. “Boeing provided a comprehensive response to the Invitation to Tender on 13 January 2020, meeting all of the criteria specified by the BAAINBw [Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support]. We are committed to having the sustainment and training as well as part of the production done in Germany and we will continue to build on and expand our Germany CHINOOK Industry Team for the [STH] competition,” Hostetter explained.
Rather than the ‘clean sheet’ designs several industry teams are offering in other global competitions, Hostetter pointed out the CHINOOK is on order or operated by 20 customers, “with a high availability rate and a low operating cost per flight hour, employing the CHINOOK in many different types of operations from combat, search and rescue, special operations, to transport and humanitarian missions. Boeing has an active production line, with the capability to deliver the German CHINOOK quickly at a high rate to allow the Luftwaffe to begin operations in the near term. The CHINOOK is the only heavy-lift helicopter with an established and reliable production line.” Boeing has also addressed the airframe’s life cycle, noting there is a roadmap to keep the CHINOOK operational and technologically advanced into the 2060s. While current worldwide users provide the Luftwaffe an established logistics network for the type, several current operators are also expanding their fleets to meet operational requirements.
Hostetter concluded Boeing is working closely with the BAAINBw to provide a tailored solution for Germany that meets German capability needs at minimum cost.