Sikorsky, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has announced it will make a proposal to offer its CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter to the German Air Force, in response to a competition call.

Sikorsky intends to participate in the competition for the German Air Force’s “Schwerer Transporthubschrauber” (STH) programme.

Sikorsky president Dan Schultz said: “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. 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.”

Germany is expected to roll out a formal request for proposals this summer. It wants to procure a new STH heavy lifter to enable the Bundeswehr to move troops and equipment more quickly, safely and effectively.

The company is pitching its helicopter as an ideal choice, and is backing its credentials by showcasing a strong partnership with industry partners in Germany to support maintenance needs.

Sikorsky’s German industry partners include Rheinmetall – with whom it signed an STH agreement in June 2018, as well as MTU, ZF Luftfahrttechnik, Autoflug, HYDRO Systems, Collins Aerospace, Vincorion, Hensoldt, Liebherr and Rohde & Schwarz.

Rheinmetall Defence management board member Susanne Wiegand said: “This team is a fundamental key factor for a successful STH programme, 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 favour of the CH-53K.”

"It is the only heavy lifter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond."

The CH-53K is currently being developed for the US Marine Corps (USMC) to allow for the movement of troops and equipment from ship to shore, and to higher altitude terrain.

Earlier this month, Sikorsky bagged a $1.13bn contract to build 12 production CH-53K King Stallion helicopters for the USMC.

Wiegand said of the contract: “We are very glad about the decision of the USMC. This sign of confidence from the US Government perfectly demonstrates the trust in the performance of the CH-53K.

“It is the most modern, intelligent and powerful available Heavy Lift Helicopter in the market and we were able to get an impression of the CH-53K’s enormous capabilities in US. Countless successful test flights with the helicopter are approved for the advanced maturity of the test programme.”