Lockheed Martin Enlists Local Help in Bid to Win German Helicopter Deal | Markets & Stocks

Lockheed Martin(NYSE: LMT) is enlisting local help in a competition with Boeing(NYSE: BA) over a nearly $5 billion contract to supply heavy-lift helicopters to Germany.

Sikorsky, the helicopter company Lockheed Martin acquired for $9 billion in 2015, has signed a strategic teaming agreement with Rheinmetall(NASDAQOTH: RNMBY) to compete for the German Air Force "Schwerer Transporthubschrauber" helicopter program. The German government in December signed off on a plan to spend about 4 billion euros ($4.9 billion) on up to 60 new helicopters, with the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion and the Boeing CH-47 Chinook expected to be two of the main combatants.

The contract is expected to be awarded by 2020, with deliveries set to begin in 2023. The new order would replace an existing fleet of Sikorsky CH-53G helicopters for use in humanitarian aid, troop transport, casualty evacuation, support of special operations forces, and combat search-and-rescue missions.

Sikorsky's CH-53K King Stallion test fleet. Image source: Lockheed Martin.

Friends on the ground

The competition comes at an interesting time for U.S. contractors, who in recent years have scrambled to build their international orders as a way to offset the risk posed by Washington budget battles. But would-be European buyers have been somewhat put off by President Trump's rhetoric demanding that NATO allies increase defense spending, leading some politicians in Europe to demand that their governments focus their spending on domestic c....

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