Germany has announced it will replace its ageing Sikorsky CH-53D heavylift helicopters with 60 Boeing CH-47F Block II Chinooks.
The US$4.3bn (A$6.1bn) deal sees the Chinook beat out the new Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion for the requirement, with the Chinook’s lower acquisition price reportedly being the key difference.
The German Government also stressed the interoperability of the Chinook with NATO partners The Netherlands and UK, both of which also operate the CH-47F. The German CH-47F will gain the Block II enhancements including redesigned fuel tanks, a strengthened fuselage, and improved dynamic components, and will also gain an air-to-air refuelling capability. The Luftwaffe’s fleet of Airbus A400M transport is capable of refuelling helicopters in flight.
“We carefully weighed up the advantages and disadvantages as well as the risks – and then unanimously voted in favour of this model,” German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a release. “The Chinook is modern and tried and tested. With this model we are strengthening our ability to co-operate in Europe. In addition, we are getting a larger fleet here and gaining flexibility.”
Deliveries of the Chinooks are expected to commence in 2023 and run to 2029.