Jan 22, 2016

Germany to choose between Chinook and CH-53K for heavy-lift successor

Germany is moving ahead with an acquisition programme to replace its air force's Sikorsky CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters, with the choice narrowed to two types.
One key driver for Berlin's effort under the fledgling heavy transport helicopter project is the need to purchase a rotorcraft already in production, rather than launching a clean-sheet development programme.
Luftwaffe capability manager in charge of the programme, says only two heavy-lift helicopters effectively meet that requirement: the Boeing CH-47F Chinook and Sikorsky's CH-53K King Stallion – being developed for the US Marine Corps.
As the helicopter will be used to support special forces operations and combat search and rescue tasks, an aerial refuelling capability is required, he says. However, Germany presently has no tankers suitable for the role. Although it is a customer of the Airbus Defence & Space A400M, the tactical airlifter is unable to perform in-flight refuelling of rotorcraft.

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