DH - Defence Helicopter

Sikorsky show brings CH-53K double act to town

25th September 2019 - 15:18 GMT | by Tim Martin in London

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Manufacturer Sikorsky has held meetings and CH-53K King Stallion flight demonstrations with German and Israeli delegations as it looks to encourage both that the aircraft fits their individual heavy-lift helicopter requirements.

Germany continues to weigh up whether to side with Sikorsky’s in-development aircraft or Boeing’s CH-47F Chinook, with an order of 44-60 of either, to eventually be awarded to a preferred industry bidder in 2021 – while Israel steps up its efforts to replace an ageing CH-53 Yasur fleet. 

Boeing is also expected to host the Middle East nation for demonstrations, though a set timeline has yet to be disclosed by either party.

The 'engagements' between Sikorsky, Germany and Israel were held in collaboration with the USN and USMC at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland and Marine Corp Air Station New River, North Carolina, a spokesperson for the manufacturer confirmed.

‘Sikorsky is pleased that international delegations from Germany and Israel are participating in CH-53K demonstrations and evaluations,’ the spokesperson added in a statement.

Prior to demonstrations, an Israeli Air Force (IAF) spokesperson confirmed to Shephard that pilots from the service would be examining ‘features’ of both the King Stallion and Chinook aircraft, making clear that ‘all options’ are still being reviewed by the IAF, Israel Defense Force and Israeli Security System.

Under current plans the IAF’s CH-53 Yasur helicopters are expected to be retired in 2025, following over 50 years of service, whilst Israel will also soon have to decide on whether it wants to buy V-22 Osprey tiltrotors, following the September 2020 deadline imposed on export customers by manufacturers Bell and Boeing.

Germany’s CH-53K demonstration coincided with a week in which Mark Esper, US Defence Secretary and Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Defence Minister met at the Pentagon, with Berlin encouraged to spend more on defence investment. 

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