BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s planned purchase of 60 Chinook heavy-lift helicopters manufactured by Boeing to replace its ageing CH-53 fleet could cost twice as much as planned, Business Insider reported on Thursday, citing several government and industry sources.
Six billion euros ($6.47 billion) had been budgeted for the helicopters, but the U.S. Army has signalled to Germany that the desired equipment is cost-intensive as some components have not even been fully developed, the German news outlet said.
Expensive extra requests from Germany and inflation could raise the price to as much as 12 billion euros, the report said, adding that features such as aerial refuelling and special rotor blades were not yet available.
“We haven’t yet received the letter of offer and acceptance from the U.S., so we cannot make any statement as to the price,” a ministry spokesperson in Berlin said.
A Boeing spokesperson declined to comment on the prices, noting that this was a deal between governments and the company was a supplier to the U.S. Army.
Boeing is currently working on new rotor blades as part of the Chinook’s Block II configuration but these developments had not been requested by Germany, the spokesperson said.
On aerial refuelling, the person added that this had been a feature of Chinook helicopters for 35 years.
A deal on the German purchase is expected to be signed this year and it would then take three years to deliver the aircraft, according to the company.
Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz shifted policy in February after Russia invaded Ukraine, sharply increasing defence spending and committing 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr, Germany’s armed forces.
More than 500 Chinooks are in use by the U.S. Army and forces in Europe.
($1 = 0.9270 euros)
(Reporting by Christina Amann, Sabine Siebold and Kirsti Knolle, writing by Rachel More; editing by Jason Neely)