Sikorsky and Rheinmetall have jointly announced that they are planning to establish a logistics and fleet management centre at Leipzig / Halle Airport.

The construction of the proposed facility is conditional on Germany’s Bundeswehr selecting the CH-53K as its next heavy-lift transport helicopter.

Sikorsky, a unit of Lockheed Martin, proposed the CH-53K for the ‘Schwerer Transporthubschrauber’ (STH) heavy-lift helicopter programme.

The company partnered with Rheinmetall to compete in the STH programme.

The competition is intended to find a replacement for the German Air Force’s ageing CH-53G helicopter fleet.

In the joint release, Rheinmetall and Sikorsky stated that they are in advanced discussions with the airport operator in Leipzig.

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The planned facility will support the operation of the CH-53K helicopter fleet.

Rheinmetall Aviation Services managing director Mike Schmidt said: “We are in advanced talks on a logistics and maintenance hub at Leipzig Airport.

“We are delighted with the very positive response so far. If the application is successful, the maintenance and supply of the new Bundeswehr transport helicopter could be carried out centrally and efficiently in Leipzig. For the region, the project would mean the settlement of important industry and associated jobs.”

Sikorsky assembled an industry team comprising MTU Aero Engines, Collins Aerospace, ZF Luftfahrttechnik, Autoflug, Hensoldt, Rohde & Schwarz, HYDRO Systems, and Vincorion.

The fleet management centre will allow for the evaluation of technical helicopter data.

Sikorsky business development manager Christian Albrecht said: “We have built up a strong industrial team in Germany that will ensure the availability of the CH-53K fleet for the German Air Force.

“With our plans for a hub at Leipzig / Halle Airport, we are laying the foundation to provide the Bundeswehr with a helicopter that will be reliable for several decades to come.”

Boeing is another contender hoping to secure the contract. The company is offering its C-47 Chinook for the programme.