Rheinmetall Aviation Services has received the first two Bundeswehr CH-53G heavy transport helicopters for maintenance at the Diepholz air base, marking the beginning of the company’s assumption of maintenance responsibility, as planned.
The company signed a maintenance contract with the Bundeswehr last November, and it took just 77 days – thanks to first class support and cooperation from the Bundeswehr, according to a Rheinmetall statement on 11 May, to complete the grounwork and be able to commence operations on time on 29 March.
A detachment of the 64th Helicopter Squadron is responsible for major maintenance and repair operations at Diepholz, with five Bundeswehr-owned maintenance bays dedicated to the CH-53G – an aircraft that has been in the Bundeswehr inventory ever since 1972. Prior to assuming the operations, Rheinmetall had to contend with multiple organisational and logistical challenges, including locating and hiring appropriate personnel – and completing additional training in some cases.
Headquartered in Bremen, Rheinmetall Aviation Services was founded early 2019, to facilitate strategic cooperation with CH-53 manufacturer Sikorsky in the Bundeswehr’s Heavy Transport Helicopter (STH) procurement programme. Rheinmetall and Sikorsky have been cooperating intensively in multiple procurement projects since 2009 – with the Bundeswehr now benefitting from expertise developed during this partnership.