BERLIN ― Boeing has picked 11 companies to support it in its quest to capture the German military’s multibillion-dollar, heavy-lift helicopter program.
At a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday, executives with the U.S. contractor said the firms would be “the first of many” partners in its plan to sell the H-47 Chinook to Germany. The companies include: AERO-Bildungs GmbH; Aircraft Philipp; CAE Elektronik GmbH; COTESA; Diehl Defence; Honeywell; Liebherr-Aerospace; Reiser Simulation and Training GmbH; Rockwell Collins; and Rolls-Royce .
Separately announced as part of the team was Rohde & Schwarz, which unveiled a new software-defined airborne radio at the Berlin Air Show.
The radio would provide the Boeing aircraft “tailorable encryption, frequency hopping, agility, and excellent voice and data connectivity advantages compared to conventional radios,” said Michael Hostetter, director for vertical lift programs for Boeing in Germany.
The teaming announcements come after the sole competitor, Lockheed Martin-owned Sikorsky with its CH-53K offering, has been busy for weeks showcasing local industry involvement in what the German government wants to be an off-the-shelf acquisition.
Some industry leaders complained last year about being left out of a completely new helicopter development, leading to increased pressure on the U.S. vendors to give their efforts a German face.
Boeing officials sought to frame the Chinook offering as a “proven” aircraft that would cost less than the CH-53K King Stallion and offer more variable use cases thanks to its tandem-rotor construction.
Chinook helicopters are in production now at roughly four copies per month at a manufacturing facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, according to Hostetter.
German defense officials are expected to release a request for information for the Schwerer Transporthubschrauber program late this year or early next.
Depending on the requirements, Boeing could offer different variants equipped with different fuel tanks sized for various ranges, company officials said.
Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.