Germany cancels search for CH-53G replacement

On September 29, Germany announced that it had cancelled its search for a new heavy-lift transport helicopter to replace the air force’s ageing Sikorsky CH-53G Sea Stallion fleet.

The German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) cited that the Schwerer Transporthubschrauber (STH) programme was cancelled after the bidding process showed that not all of the requirements could be met within the planned budget.

CH-53G [Getty Images/Sean Gallup]
A pair of Bundeswehr CH-53Gs were on duty to support the NATO summit at Baden-Baden Airport, Germany, on April 3, 2009. Ownership of Germany's CH-53G fleet transferred to the air force in early 2013. Getty Images/Sean Gallup

In a press release, the BMVg said: “The awarding authority of the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Federal Armed Forces assessed the available offers as uneconomical and for this reason cancelled the award procedure.”

The STH project sought a replacement for the German Air Force’s ageing CH-53GA, CH-53GE and CH-53GS fleets before the type reaches the end of its useful life in 2030. Germany required between 40 and 60 examples of a new heavy-lift transport helicopter, with deliveries to begin before the end of the decade to ensure no capability gap was created. Two platforms were offered to the nation in response to a competitive tender: Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook and Sikorsky’s CH-53K King Stallion and a type selection was due in 2021.

Despite the cancellation of this STH tender, the need to replace the ageing CH-53Gs is still a high priority for the German armed forces. The programme will now be re-examined and will restart with alternative specifications and requirements in the future. The BMVg added: “A contract conclusion in 2021 under the current framework conditions cannot be achieved. The aim remains to replace the previous CH-53G model in good time.”