Germany plans to buy sixty CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters from US-based Boeing for nearly €5.0 billion, according to reports in the German press, citing government sources.
The purchase is to be financed from a €100 billion fund announced by Chancellor Olaf Scholz to modernise the German armed forces following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Berlin’s objective now is to raise its defence spending to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) as recommended by NATO.
According to the ‘Bild am Sonntag’ Sunday newspaper, the first aircraft could be delivered in 2025-2026. They are to replace the survivors of a fleet of 112 Sikorsky CH-53 Gs built under licence in Germany by Vereinigte Flugtechnische Werke from 1972.
Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht is to inform parliament of the decision later this week, the weekly said.
Another candidate to replace the ageing helicopters was the CH-53K King Stallion from Sikorsky (now part of the US Lockheed Martin group). This is the latest evolution of that aircraft, which first flew in 1964.
However, according to Bild, the price of the CH-47F played in its favour – the Bundeswehr could have acquired only 40 CH-53Ks for the same price . Moreover, the Chinook is widely used by other NATO countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Greece, Italy and Spain.
The CH-47F is also expected to be a candidate for the contract for four or five heavy-lift helicopters that Belgium could launch under a military programming law currently being prepared by Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder.