Germany is taking initial steps toward replacing its fleet of Sikorsky CH-53Gs, according to that manufacturer and the U.S. Marine Corps.
Sikorsky VP for CH-53K Mike Torok said at the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition outside Washington May 16 that the company is in discussions with Germany, which is looking to replace 40 to 60 of the heavy-lift aircraft. He said Sikorsky anticipates more info from Germany this year, with a possible request for proposals in 2017, but he said an official schedule has not been announced.
The Marine CH-53K program manager, Col. Henry Vanderborght, said the service is in the process of responding to a German inquiry on pricing and availability for 41 CH-53Ks.
While Sikorsky is readying its assembly line for low-rate initial production (LRIP), Torok said, it is also preparing to support a potential German order of 100 beyond the Marine program of record of 200 (in case the Germans want the new heavy lifter).
The Marine Corps plans a Milestone C decision on LRIP for early 2017. If it decides to move forward, Sikorsky would produce the first LRIP lot of two CH-53Ks in fiscal 2020, followed by LRIP lots of four, seven and 13 helicopters. An initial operational capability declaration and full-rate production are targeted for the first half of fiscal year 2020. R&WI