Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Sikorsky and Boeing have both entered bids to produce heavy-transport helicopter to replace the German military's CH-53G Super Stallion.
Both companies issued press releases this week saying they had submitted bids for Germany's "Schwerer Transporthubschrauber" -- it's "heavy-lift helicopter" program -- which the German parliament approved in 2018. Boeing and Sikorsky responded to a request for proposals Germany issued last summer.
The country estimates it will cost $4.45 billion to replace the Sikorsky CH-53G with 45 to 60 new aircraft, which it has used for decades.
Boeing has proposed replacing the CH-53G with the H-47 Chinook and offered to deliver 44 to 60 of the aircraft if it is awarded the contract.
Boeing's CH-47 Chinook, introduced to the U.S. Army in 1961 and developed to replace the Sikorsky CH-37 Mojave, is considered one of the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. Boeing has sold variants of the aircraft to foreign militaries including Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and England.
According to Lockheed Martin, which has owned Sikorsky since 2015, Sikorsky partnered with German defense supplier Rheinmetall to craft its bid for Germany's ST program.
That bid proposes replacing the CH-53G with the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter, an upgrade Lockheed describes as well-suited for disaster relief, humanitarian missions, medical evacuation or search and rescue operations, as well as military applications.
Both companies have said if they win the bid, they'll increase their presence in Germany: Boeing is "committed to having the sustainment and training, as well as parts of the production, done in Germany," and Lockheed said if its bid is successful, Sikorsky and Rheinmetall will set up a logistics hub and fleet support center at Germany's Leipzig/Halle Airport.