Germany supports a tighter Chinook support ecosystem

Germany has considered the possibility of forming a closer support ecosystem for Chinook users in view of the Air Force’s acquisition of 60 CH-47F Block II transport helicopters.

The agency acquired the fleet of heavy lift vehicles from the US for under 7.8 billion euros ($8.5 billion) Military sales abroad agreement in May 2023. Germany aims to transition from its current fleet of 72 CH-53 Super Stallion helicopters, which are now more than 50 years old according to leading information consultancy, GlobalData.

It can now be revealed that the timetable for delivery will take place between 2027 and 2032, contrary to earlier expectations that the first unit would be delivered in 2026.

German challenges with the latest Chinook

There are 21 Chinook users worldwide, nine of which are members of the NATO military alliance, including Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkeythe UK and the US, among many others.

The German Armed Forces have no operational history with the Chinook. However, they seek to adopt a highly configured variant, with a variety of equipment from around the world. In particular, only three systems will be German-made: the AE kit, the Link 16 and the BOS radio.

This led to concerns about aircrew and, more importantly, maintenance training. For this reason, Germany considered a vision of the future in which the Air Force would benefit from closer activity among Chinook users – something similar to the fixed A400M aircraft carrier program, it was proposed.

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From GlobalData

A global Chinook ecosystem

Germany currently has 40 A400M aircraft, along with eight other nations, according to intelligence service GlobalData.

Because of its watchful eye largely based on Europe Organization for Joint Equipment Cooperation (OCCAR), Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom – six participating members of the program, as well as Luxembourg and Malaysia – benefited from the smooth acquisition of the tactical and strategic air carrier.

Other OCCAR successes include the program procurement of the Boxer infantry fighting vehicle, in which the UK recently determined it must face “temporary concessions” in acquiring parts and equipment from other Boxer users in the program, such as Germany.

Like the UK with the Boxer, the German Air Force would benefit greatly from such a system as it tries to prepare for the acquisition of a fleet it has no experience with.

The form of support could be the transfer of parts and equipment, like the UK’s Boxer occasion, or perhaps, knowledge sharing, where Germany would go on deployments with other Chinook users to learn the ropes.

However, since the Chinook is a US-based contractor-built platform, Boeingsuch an ecosystem may not be as easily implemented, or even feasible, as it was for Europe’s OCCAR programs.

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