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Germany chooses Chinook for future heavy lift competition

A CH-47F Chinook assigned to B Company, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) perches on a mountain in the Alps in Germany, Oct. 21, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Garrett L. Dipuma)

WASHINGTON: The German government announced today that it has chosen the Boeing CH-47F Chinook as its future heavy lift helicopter.

The Chinook beat out Lockheed Martin Sikorsky’s CH-53K heavy lift helicopter for the contract award. Boeing will deliver 60 helicopters under the deal, according to Reuters. The Germany parliament still has to approve to deal.

“Boeing is honored the German government has selected the CH-47F Chinook for its STH heavy-lift helicopter requirements,” Boeing said in a statement. “With the Chinook, Germany will operate the most affordable, proven and NATO interoperable heavy-lift helicopter. We look forward to working with the U.S. and German governments to finalize this sale under the Foreign Military Sales process.”

The German Ministry of Defense canceled the heavy-lift competition in 2020 after Lockheed and Boeing’s proposals were too expensive, according to Defense News. The government later rebooted the competition.

Germany is aiming to replace its aging fleet of Sikorsky CH-53Gs through the new helicopter program, known as Schwerer Transporthubschrauber in Germany.

“With this model we are strengthening our ability to cooperate in Europe. It’s modern, proven & already being used by NATO partners,” the defense ministry tweeted.

In March, Boeing announced a partnership with German aerospace giant Airbus to compete in the Chinook contest. Other companies partnered with Boeing for the competition are AERO-Bildung GmbH, CAE Elektronik GmbH, ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, Lufthansa Technik, Honeywell Aerospace and Rolls-Royce Deutschland.

The Chinook is flown by is flown by 19 countries across the world, including eight NATO countries.

“With Chinook’s unique capabilities, air to air refueling, and special note of interoperability with other NATO customers, I think that is the logical choice for Germany as they move forward with their heavy lift aircraft modernization program,” Heather McBryan, Boeing’s director of business development for H-47 and future vertical lift programs at Boeing, told reporters at a conference in April.

A statement from a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said the company was “disappointed” in the German Ministry of Defense decisions and said the company is “awaiting a debrief from the German MoD on its decision.”

“We remain confident the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is the safest, most modern, capable, and reliable heavy-lift helicopter available today,” the spokesperson said. “The CH-53K can provide significantly more advanced operational capabilities, aerial refueling, extended range for humanitarian missions, and unmatched heavy lift capabilities with far fewer aircraft, logistical support, maintenance, training and operating cost than any heavy lift aircraft flying today.”

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