ILA 2010: Sikorsky to offer Cyclone for German Air Force, Navy requirements
Sikorsky is to offer its H-92 derivative, the Cyclone, to meet the needs of the German Air Force and the German Navy.
The company is hoping that the promise of technology sharing, industrial partnerships and the promise of a final assembly line in Germany under the auspices of the Cyclone German Multi-Role Helicopter Team will give the helicopter a headstart in the running for the contract.
During a press conference at the ILA Airshow on 8 June, the company announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ZF Luftfahrttechnik GmbH and a letter of co-operation with RUAG. It is understood that Rheinmetall have also signed up to the team as have MTU.
The navy requirement is for around 30 aircraft to replace the Westland Sea King, while the air force contract is for a specialist CSAR aircraft, with a requirement for around 19 examples - although the order could be split, with an initial for eight, and 11 following later. This is the first time the German Air Force has specified a requirement for the CSAR role.
Currently the air force has a number of UH-1D Hueys with CSAR as a secondary tasking.
Joseph Gigantelli, Sikorsky VP of Sales for Europe, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, said the aircraft was the right choice for Germany.
'By the time the German requirement needs to be in service, this aircraft will have already been in service with Canada for two or three years. It will be a low-risk development programme, as the Canadians have funded the type's development.'
Gigantelli said that while the Cyclone was easily able to meet the specifications for the navy, the air force's contract was extremely strict, and would be challenging, but he pointed out that having one airframe for both tasks would help to reduce costs in training and logistics.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Maritime Helicopter Programme (MHP) continues. Four CH-148 Cyclones are now in flight test with one of the aircraft taking part in sea trials with the Canadian Forces. The aircraft is several years behind schedule, but Sikorsky is working towards having initial operating capability in 2012, with the full fleet working at full operational capability and all delivered in 2019.
Sikorsky is also looking at pushing its new-build CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter for the Future Transport Helicopter (FTH) programme to replace the fleet of CH-53s operated by the German Army.
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