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Germany halts heavy transport helicopter tender citing cost

German Air Force CH-53
German Air Force file photo of the CH-53 that the country wants to replace

The German defense ministry has decided to cancel its tender for the procurement of a new heavy transport helicopter, country officials said Tuesday revealing the surprising decision.

The procurement halt comes after Lockheed Martin and Boeing – the only two known competitors in the program – submitted their proposals in January this year.

Germany said both offers turned out to be more expensive than expected, adding that the project could not be realized within the set financial framework. The country’s defense procurement agency (BAAINBW) deemed both offers as “uneconomic” and cancelled the procurement, it was added.

The defense ministry said the cancellation would likely delay the country’s decision on the choice of a new heavy transport helicopter (Schwerer Transporthubschrauber in German) that would succeed the ageing CH-53E Super Stallion. Germany had expected to award a contract for a new helicopter in 2021.

The ministry noted, however, that there was still time for a timely replacement of the CH-53, indicating that the process will likely be restarted.

Boeing and Lockheed had offered the H-47 Chinook and Sikorsky CH-53K “King Stallion”, respectively, in a bid to secure a contract for the delivery of up to 65 helicopters.