Sikorsky and Rheinmetall bid to produce and operate CH-53K helicopter

14 January 2020 (Last Updated January 14th, 2020 09:13)

Lockheed Martin company Sikorsky and Rheinmetall have submitted a bid to the German Air Force to produce and operate the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter for its Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) programme.

Sikorsky and Rheinmetall bid to produce and operate CH-53K helicopter
Sikorsky and Rheinmetall have submitted a bid for the production and operation of the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter. Credit: Sikorsky.

Sikorsky and Rheinmetall have submitted a bid to the German Air Force to produce and operate the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift transport helicopter for its Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) programme.

An STH project team of more than ten German companies formed by Sikorsky and Rheinmetall includes MTU Aero Engines, Autoflug GmbH and Hydro Systems.

The team, which will benefit from a significant workshare, will offer Germany reliability in maintaining and using the platform.

CH-53K International business development director Beth Parcella said: “Our entire team is pleased to offer the CH-53K: the most efficient, capable and intelligent helicopter that will deliver the best long-term value to the Bundeswehr through the 21st century.”

The CH-53K’s avionics and digitised flight control systems have been designed to accommodate future software upgrades. Its internal payload capability can be substantially increased through simple modifications.

The helicopter features an integrated sensor system that enables the aircraft to predict and prevent problems at an early stage, as well as fly-by-wire flight controls.

It is equipped with air-to-air refueling fully interoperable with Lockheed Martin’s KC-130J tanker aircraft.

In addition, the CH-53K can accommodate the same air transport pallets and can be used for the tactical transport of personnel and material for other missions.

Rheinmetall Aviation Services managing director Mike Schmidt said: “German companies will play a significant role in the success of the CH-53K programme.

“Sikorsky and Rheinmetall prepared the application together over a long period of time; this has strengthened the bonds within our team. We have developed into a highly effective unit.”

The companies propose to establish a logistics hub and an STH fleet support centre at Leipzig / Halle Airport if the bid becomes successful.

In April 2018, Sikorsky confirmed its German industrialisation plan to compete in the STH heavy-lift helicopter programme with its CH-53K King Stallion aircraft.