May 29 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin's Sikorsky division announced it will offer its CH-53K King Stallion helicopter in a competition to win a contract with the German air force.
A request for proposals for a heavy-lift helicopter is expected from the Bundeswehr, Germany's unified military force, during the summer, Sikorsky said on Monday. The "Schwerer Transporthubschrauber," or STH, program will require obtaining helicopters offering quick movement of troops and equipment.
Sikorsky is developing the King Stallion, the newest variant of its Super Stallion, or CH-53E, helicopter. Twelve were ordered in February by the U.S. Marine Corps, at a cost of $1.2 billion, with first deployment expected in 2023 or 2024. Over 1,400 test hours have already been recorded. The helicopter can externally lift up to 27,000 pounds.
The U.S. Navy is expected to order as many as 200 King Stallion aircraft.
"The CH-53K is the modern heavy lift solution that will provide the German Armed Forces with a safe, reliable heavy lift helicopter that can be entered into service seamlessly without need for upgrades for the next several decades," said Sikorsky President Dan Schultz in a statement.
"It is the only heavy lifter that will remain in production through 2032 and beyond. Our strong German industry team will provide sustainment and maintenance over the next 40-50 years ensuring high-quality jobs across the country for decades to come," Schultz said.
Sikorsky has business relationships with at least 10 major German technology companies which could serve as subcontractors, the company said.