Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first French Tiger retrofitted into the HAD version to the French Army Aviation corps, having previously completed its formal acceptance process with the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) at the end of last year.
This retrofit from the HAP to the HAD version involves performing over 100 airframe modifications and the installation of over 1,500 new parts and 250 electrical cables.
Compared with the previous HAP version, the HAD Tiger benefits from an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW), and is equipped with two new enhanced MTR 390 E engines and with a new STRIX roof-mounted sight system complete with a laser designator that allows the Hellfire II air-to-ground missile to be fired.
This retrofit is the first of 36 retrofits from HAP to HAD ordered by the French Ministry of Defence. According to Airbus Helicopters, the Tiger attack helicopter has proven its capabilities during operational deployments in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Libya and Mali. In service with the armed forces of France, Germany, Spain and Australia, the global Tiger fleet has logged over 92,000 flight hours to date.
The Australian Tiger fleet was grounded in July last year after a German ARH crashed in Mali, losing its rotors in the incident that saw two Germans killed. The German military lifted the flying ban in late October last year and Australian flying operations began again in November last year.
“The ARH HAD modification fits the original French Army variant, the HAP, with the Hellfire missile system and an enhanced engine, as integrated into the Australian ARH Tiger, the second batch of 40 French Army Tigers, and the Spanish Tigers,” Airbus Australia Pacific managing director Tony Fraser told ADM.
“It is also worth noting that Airbus utilises electric harnesses in these aircraft from the Australian SME, Cablex, acquired through our Global Supply Chain. Additionally, Australia was paid royalties for the Hellfire integration into the other Tiger Fleets.”
As outlined in the recent Dec/Jan edition of ADM, the Tiger has had a rocky road but is showing definite signs of improvement.