French Army Takes Delivery of Final Tiger HAD Attack Helicopter

The French Army took delivery of the final Tiger HAD attack helicopter during a ceremony in Marignane, France on Feb. 5.

The TIGER programme is managed by European intergovernmental organisation OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’ARmement, “Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation”). The prime contractor of the program is Airbus Helicopters.

Until now, 185 Tigers have been produced for France, Germany, Spain, and Australia. However, the Tiger programme is still active: 36 Tigers are going through retrofit in France, from the HAP to the HAD configuration, an activity that will continue until 2024. In Germany, 33 Tigers are currently upgraded onto the ASGARD-configuration (Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment), with the first one coming out of retrofit in the coming months.

Mr. Patrice Malejac, the OCCAR TIGER Programme Manager spoke during his speech of the important contribution of the TIGER Programme to the transformation of the way in which nations collaborate with each other, with the creation of OCCAR, as it was one of the first programmes that was entrusted to the organisation. Similarly, the integration of the aeronautical industry with the creation of Eurocopter can also be attributed to the TIGER programme.

The Tiger programme remains one of the majors of OCCAR programmes, noting that the number of OCCAR programmes has increased from the initial five to the current 13 among which four aeronautical programmes whose industrial prime contractor is Airbus.

OCCAR and Airbus are closely associated to offer technical, organizational and contractual solutions in line with the needs of the 4 Nations using the Tiger that are adapted to the contexts of the coming years.

The signing of the global support contract at the end of last year meant a first step in giving Airbus greater responsibility to improve the availability of the Tiger helicopter fleets.

Then, the standard 3 risk reduction phase offers Airbus and OCCAR an opportunity to build a solution with Germany, Spain and France as well as the main suppliers of airborne systems and equipment, building on the experiences acquired in recent years and at the same time integrating new approaches to match the current challenges.

Mr Malejac said “thanks to all those who have contributed with passion to the achievement of this terrific weapons system.”

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.

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