Airbus Delivers Final Tiger HAD Attack Helicopter to Spanish Army

Airbus Helicopters delivered the final Tiger HAD attack helicopter to the Spanish Army on 14th January 2020, OCCAR announced in a statement.

This delivery represents the last of a total of 18 HAD helicopters that have been produced by Airbus Helicopters for the Spanish Army. Originally, this helicopter was used as a prototype for the development of the Spanish HAD fleet and was finally retrofitted into the serial configuration Block 2 (B2).

Now, Airbus is fully concentrated on the retrofits of four helicopters from the previous B1 into the final B2 configuration for the Spanish Customer.

TIGER helicopter

The TIGER helicopter is a new generation multi-role combat helicopter fully developed in Europe and currently in service in France, Germany, Spain and Australia. It was designed from a common platform complemented with different elements building a number of variants tailored to the customer requirements.

The four-bladed rigid rotor and an accurate automatic flight control system with sophisticated upper modes provide the TIGER with extraordinary maneuverability. The helicopter is powered by two MTR390-2C turboshaft engines specifically designed for the TIGER by MTR (consortium created by MTU, Turbomeca and Rolls Royce). There is an enhanced version (E) of the engines to be initially installed in the HAD variant. This version of the engine provides an additional 14% of power.

The helicopter is highly survivable and has high crashworthiness, It is provided with Kevlar ballistic protection (against 23 mm fire), self-sealing tanks, system redundancies and segregation and chaff & flares dispenser.

The TIGER programme was initially a programme between France and Germany for the acquisition of anti-tank and support helicopter systems in response to common military requirements. The programme was placed under OCCAR responsibility since its legal status was achieved in 2001.

Three versions were initially identified: HAP (Hélicoptère d’appui et protection), HAC (Hélicoptère anti Char) for France and the PAH2 (Panzerabwehrhubschrauber 2). In 2004, Spain joined the programme and its specific requirements for the platform led to the definition of a new version: HAD (Helicóptero de Ataque y Destrucción).

Airbus Tiger attack helicopter variants. OCCAR Photo.
Airbus Tiger attack helicopter variants. OCCAR Photo.

For optimising the commonalities and reducing the costs, all versions of the TIGER have been developed from a common “basic helicopter”. The “basic helicopter” corresponds to the vehicle development and to the basic avionics. It includes a GPS/Doppler navigation system coupled with a digital map generator. An accurate automatic flight control system with sophisticated upper modes allows decreasing the pilot workload in adverse conditions. Additionally, IFF, electronic countermeasure, radio communication and radio navigation are managed by the basic system.

France contracted 40 HAP and 40 HAD (HAC variant was cancelled), Germany 80 UHT (Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger) and Spain 24 HAD.

In 2001, the Australian Government ordered 22 TIGER helicopters in the variant ARH (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter). The co-operation with Australia has been formalized in 2009, granting Australia an Observer Status in the TIGER programme.

The TIGER is manufactured by Airbus Helicopters and is built in three different European versions at three different Final Assembly Lines in Germany, France and Spain.

The HAP and UHT are in service since 2005. The HAD variant was launched later, with a qualification to be achieved in 2014. As of today more than 65 flying European TIGERs and 22 Australian ARH have been produced and delivered to customers. Nations have initiated the discussions regarding the Tiger mid-life upgrade with the aim to have the first H/C delivered in this up-to-date standard by 2025/2026.

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