Boeing sub-contracted ESG Elektroniksystem- und Logistik-GmbH, a German supplier and subsidiary of Hensoldt, on the 24 June 2024, to validate certain requirements of the ground equipment used to support Germany’s CH-47F Block II Chinook helicopters.

Also known as the ESOH (Environment, Safety and Occupational Health) analysis, ESG will evaluate the environmental compatibility of the material, safety and health protection of the machines and tools used for operation, maintenance and repair.

Although the cost valuation is not disclosed, the deal marks an important milestone on the way to introducing the US-manufactured heavy-lift helicopters into the Luftwaffe.

Initially, the US State Department approved the $8.5bn (€7.5bn) foreign military sale for the upgraded Chinooks and their supplementary equipment in May last year. While the delivery of the first platform was anticipated in 2026, the timeline was later extended to 2027-2032 at the end of February.

How German are the German Chinooks?

The German Air Force has no operational history with the Chinook. However, they seek to adopt a highly configured variant with various equipment from around the world.

While Boeing will call on the German industry for the the ESOH review, curiously there are only three systems in the platform that will be indigenously made: the AE kit, the Link 16 and the BOS radio.

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In contrast, Dr. Michael Haidinger, president of Boeing Germany, argued: “Even though the procurement of the future CH-47F Chinook fleet is a government business, it has always been clear to us that the German security and defence industry must be actively involved in the program from the very beginning.

“With ESG and our other German industry partners, we will ensure maximum operational capability for the [German Armed Forces] for decades to come.”

Giving Germany the capacity to maintain an unfamiliar platform

The collaboration between Boeing and ESG marks the beginning of the development of a robust local infrastructure in Herzberg (Brandenburg) to support the German Chinook fleet.

“With the ESOH analysis, we are creating an important basis for the successful introduction and utilisation of the CH-47F Chinook – we are thus moving into the concrete implementation of this pioneering project,” asserted Katja Ziegler, managing director of ESG.

Germany’s industrial experience extends to the country’s existing fleet of 72 CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters, which are now more than 50 years old according to the leading intelligence consultancy GlobalData. “This important experience will enable a smooth transition to the CH-47F Chinook and allow the requirements of the German Air Force to be optimally supported,” suggested ESG in a press release.