Germany confirms purchase of Boeing Chinook helicopters

Defense Ministry authorized order for 60 CH-47F heavy helicopters for the armed forces; aircraft will replace CH-53s in service in the country for more than 50 years

German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht announced Wednesday in Parliament in Berlin the choice of Boeing CH-47F Chinook heavy helicopter for the armed forces. The aircraft with tandem rotors will replace the old CH-53G Sea Stallion, in service in the country for 51 years.

“We carefully weighed the advantages and disadvantages as well as the risks – and then voted unanimously in favor of this model. The Chinook is modern and tried and true. With this model we are strengthening our capacity for cooperation in Europe. In addition, we are acquiring a larger fleet here and gaining flexibility,” said the German minister.

Boeing will supply 60 CH-47Fs to Germany in a deal that could exceed $5 billion. The selection process for the new heavy helicopter had been going on since 2019.

The Chinook was the winner of the STH (Schwerer Transporthubschrauber or Heavy Transport Helicopter in German) program, beating the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion proposed by Lockheed Martin.

In a statement, Boeing celebrated the choice of the CH-47F in Germany. “With the Chinook, Germany will operate the most affordable, proven and NATO interoperable heavy-lift helicopter. We look forward to working with the U.S. and German governments to finalize this sale under the Foreign Military Sales process.”

The “Chinook Deutschland” team, created by Boeing to participate in the STH program and offer support services for the helicopters, also includes German companies such as Lufthansa Technik, Rolls-Royce Deutschland and even Airbus Helicopters.

German CH-53G helicopter (LM)

Germany’s selected Chinook, the CH-47F Block II with aerial refueling probes, is the most advanced variant of the American aircraft. According to Boeing data, the model can take off with a maximum weight of 24,500 kg, with up to 10,000 kg of cargo (or up to 55 soldiers). Despite all its size and weight, it is a very fast helicopter: it reaches a maximum speed of 315 km/h.

Germany has been negotiating a series of purchases of military items in recent months due to the war in Ukraine. Recently, the German Parliament authorized the purchase of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, in addition to selecting the Lockheed Martin F-35A fighter jet to replace part of the old Panavia Tornado supersonic jets.