Berlin:  The US military has approved Lockheed Martin Corp’s new CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter to fly at the Berlin air show next April, according to two sources familiar with the programme.

It will mark the CH-53K’s international debut at time when a German helicopter competition could start heating up again.

The German defence ministry is nearing the kickoff of a competition valued at nearly 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) between two US helicopters – Lockheed’s massive Sikorsky CH-53K and the smaller Boeing Co CH-47 twin-rotor helicopter.

A formal decision on how to structure the competition has stalled as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives try to forge a ruling coalition with the pro-business Free Democrats and the Greens, an endeavour that could take until the end of the year.

Military sources expect the programme to proceed only after a new government is in place, but say it could be delayed further if the current defence minister, Ursula von der…

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