Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Sikorsky has joined forces with Rheinmetall to compete in the German Air Force's "Schwerer Transporthubschrauber," or heavy transport helicopter program.
Rheinmetall and Sikorsky, the latter owned by Lockheed Martin, signed a strategic teaming agreement to deliver the German air force its next generation of heavy lift helicopters, the companies announced on Tuesday.
"With Rheinmetall as the strategic partner for Sikorsky, we are convinced that together we provide the best possible state-of-the-art aircraft for the German Air Force as successor for the legacy CH-53G fleet," Armin Papperger, CEO of Rheinmetall, said in a press release.
"Furthermore, we stand strongly together in offering a cost-effective, reliable solution oriented to the needs of today's operations, and able to evolve with the armed forces as its needs change over time."
In the coming weeks, the companies say they will also look to "add more German teammates."
"Sikorsky has a 45-year history supporting the German armed forces fleet of CH-53G aircraft, and we are humbled by the opportunity to continue to serve the German armed forces for another 45 years with Sikorsky's CH-53K," Dan Schultz, president of Sikorsky, said in a press release.
"As a former CH-53 pilot, I can attest that this aircraft is truly the most capable heavy lift helicopter we have ever built. Sikorsky's CH-53K, combined with Rheinmetall as our key German partner, is a winning solution for STH."
The CH-53K King Stallion aircraft is a newly-minted aircraft that uses modern intelligent design, according to the companies. The aircraft is specifically designed to ensure "reliability, low maintenance, high availability and enhanced survivability in the most austere and remote forward operating bases."
The U.S. Marine Corps is scheduled to field the CH-53K in 2019. Germany would be expected to add the aircraft to their fleet in 2024, the companies said.