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Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, formally responded on May 28 to the German Air Force “Schwerer Transporthubschrauber” (STH) Program call for competition. Sikorsky will offer the most modern heavy-lift helicopter in production, the CH-53K King Stallion, in response to the official request for proposals, which is expected this summer. The new STH heavy lifter will allow the Bundeswehr to move troops and equipment more quickly, safely and effectively than ever before.
“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,” said Sikorsky president Dan Schultz. “Our strong German industry team will provide sustainment and maintenance over the next 40 to 50 years ensuring high-quality jobs across the country for decades to come.”
Sikorsky and its Germany industry partners, including Rheinmetall, remain confident that the Sikorsky CH-53K offers the best value to the Bundeswehr and offers unrivaled growth potential over its lifecycle. German partners include: Rheinmetall, MTU, ZF Luftfahrttechnik GmbH, Autoflug, HYDRO Systems KG, Collins Aerospace, Vincorion, Hensoldt, Liebherr and Rohde & Schwarz.
“Sikorsky is already today in close partnerships with more than 10 leading German technology companies, including the exclusive teammates Rheinmetall, MTU, Autoflug and HYDRO,” said Susanne Wiegand, member of the management board, Rheinmetall Defence. “This team is a fundamental key factor for a successful STH program, 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 favor of the CH-53K.”
King Stallion update
The U.S. Marine Corps on May 17 awarded Sikorsky a contract for 12 more CH-53K aircraft. Sikorsky is now on contract for a total of 14 LRIP aircraft, plus the four development and test aircraft that will also go to the Marines, with one aircraft already delivered. The Marine Corps program of record is 200 aircraft.
“We are very glad about the decision of the U.S. Marine Corps,” Wiegand said. “This sign of confidence from the U.S. 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 USA. Countless successful test flights with the helicopter are approved for the advanced maturity of the test program.”
The all-new CH-53K, designed to be survivable in the most difficult conditions, has flown more than 1,400 test hours and has met all the outer reaches of the test envelope. The King Stallion is in the midst of a rigorous test program to ensure safe, effective operations moving more equipment over longer distances and higher altitudes than any other heavy lift aircraft in production.
Accomplishments to date include: high altitude, hot temperature, and degraded visual environment flights, maximum weight single-point cargo hook sling load of 36,000 pounds (16,329 kilograms); forward flight speed of over 200 knots; 60 degrees angle of bank turns; altitude of 18,500 feet mean sea level (MSL); 12-degree slope landings and takeoffs; external load auto-jettison; and gunfire testing.