Reuters BERLIN (Reuters) — U.S. arms manufacturer Lockheed Martin Corp. and German peer Rheinmetall AG said they will team up to compete for a contract valued at around €4 billion ($4.9 billion) to supply the German military with heavy-lift helicopters.
The two companies told Reuters they had signed a strategic agreement on the tie-up, which they are set to formally announce on Tuesday.
Germany in December approved plans to buy 45 to 60 new heavy-lift helicopters, kicking off a competition between Lockheed, which is offering its massive CH-53K helicopter, and Boeing Co, which will offer its smaller twin-rotor CH-47.
The German defense ministry expects to issue a request for information in the second half of 2018, with a contract expected to be awarded in mid-2020 and deliveries to begin in 2023, replacing Germany’s existing fleet of CH-53G aircraft.
Die Welt said ministry officials would meet with industry executives to discuss the procurement program on Feb. 28.
Lockheed said in an emailed statement to Reuters that it had chosen Rheinmetall as its “lead teammate” for the bid because of the German company’s “wealth of experience and knowledge.”
It said it would name other German partners in coming weeks.
“The goal is to offer German military forces as a comprehensive solution that includes the CH-53K helicopters as well as additional services in maintenance, service, training and program support,” Rheinmetall said in an emailed statement to Reuters.