The first pre-serial Tiger HAD (fire support and destruction) for France made its maiden flight from Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facility. It marks an important step towards the Block I initial qualification of the Tiger HAD, which is one of four versions in Eurocopter’s multi-role Tiger combat helicopter family.
During the next several months, Eurocopter will conduct joint testing and development flights of this Tiger HAD along with the first Spanish Tiger HAD – which re-started its flight test sequences three months ago subsequently to its transfer to Spain and lay-up.
The Tiger HAD has a maximum takeoff weight of 6.6 metric tons, a more powerful MTR390 engine, an upgraded optical sighting system, an identification friend or foe (IFF) interrogator, improved ballistic protection and a new electronic warfare system.
In addition, France’s Tiger HADs will have the capacity to launch Hellfire air-to-ground missiles, enabling them to perform multi-role missions that meet a variety of operational needs – including armed reconnaissance, combat support and attack.
To date, 64 Tiger HADs have been ordered: 40 by France and 24 by Spain (of which six are retrofits of previously-delivered HAP versions).
The state-of-the-art Tiger combat helicopter family is available in four main versions, with total orders placed for 206 of these rotary-wing aircraft. Currently, there are 64 Tigers in service with four countries: France, Germany, Spain, and Australia. Of these, three French helicopters have been operating successfully in the Afghanistan theater of operations for the past 16 months.
Established in 1992, the Franco-German-Spanish Eurocopter Group is a Division of EADS, a world leader in aerospace, defence and related services. The Eurocopter Group employs approx. 15,600 people. In 2009, Eurocopter confirmed its position as the world’s No. 1 helicopter manufacturer in the civil and parapublic market, with a turnover of 4.6 billion Euros, orders for 344 new helicopters, and a 52 percent market share in the civil and parapublic sectors.