On 25 July 2018, several hundred guests from industry, politics and the Bundeswehr came together at Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH in Donauwörth to celebrate the acceptance of the final of 68 Tiger support helicopters (SH) for the Bundeswehr by the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw).
A multinational project involving a multitude of tasks
The Tiger SH is a multinational defense project of France, Spain and Germany. The helicopter is not only intended to engage battle tanks, but also to ensure support of airmobile operations and ground forces, to provide air escort, convoy protection and armed reconnaissance, and to engage high-value targets.
13 years of flight operations
13 years lie between the delivery of the first Tiger in 2005 and the acceptance of the last of 68 helicopters of this type for the Bundeswehr. During this time, the aircraft requirements have constantly been changing – not least because of the helicopter’s use in the missions in Afghanistan and Mali.
To implement the joint project effectively, the partner states commissioned the European Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation (Organisation conjointe de coopération en matière d’armement - OCCAR) with extensive management tasks. Branch L4.3 at BAAINBw is responsible for the project management on the German side.
Government quality assurance – essential for security
In all these years, the government quality assurance office of the Bundeswehr in Donauwörth has been playing a major role. As part of today’s directorate “Technical Quality Management Center – ZtQ” at BAAINBw, it has consistently conducted comprehensive inspections over the whole development period of the Tiger. These inspections had not only the purpose of testing and verifying the contract conformity of the manufacturing process and the serviceability of the helicopter, but primarily served to ensure the security of the soldiers in and with their aircraft.
On 25 July 2018, TROAR Rene Krafzyk of ZtQ4.2 signed the certificate of conformity, thus ending the so-called realization phase of the project and confirming that the last Tiger, too, meets all the technical requirements imposed by the Bundeswehr.
Good teamwork in all areas
Roland Witzisk (OCCAR representative) praised the cooperation within the project between customer and contractor saying that it had been successful from the very beginning and emphasized that all parties involved would be committed to meeting the challenges of the future as well.
Important to the army and VJTF 2023
In his speech, the commander of the International Helicopter Training Center and Director, Army aviation, Colonel Ulrich Ott, looked back on 17 years in which he was involved with the Tiger project. He especially underlined the excellent flight characteristics of the Tiger: “It’s just great to fly!” He moved on to point out that the Tiger was enormously important for the German Army and that it had already proven its worth during the missions in Afghanistan und Mali. Finally, Ott stressed the importance of the helicopter for the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force – VJTF 2023.
A good day
“Today is a good day for me”, said chief of Branch L4.3 and project manager for the Tiger SH at BAAINBw, LTRDir Michael Kohlhaas. Looking towards the future, he added: “And yet we do not draw a line under it. This day is an incentive to address with a lot of energy the necessary adjustments during the phase of in-service use of the Tiger.”
For instance, more than 30 Tiger SH, which after years of use are no longer “state-of-the-art”, will receive mission-oriented upgrades to their hardware and software in order to be prepared for the tasks ahead.
Saving the best for last
Every guest of the event will remember the short air show. What the Tiger's pilot showed in the blue and white sky in bright sunshine was truly breath-taking. Almost effortlessly, the helicopter bearing the name of a cat of prey impressively demonstrated its capabilities, with rolls, loops and nosedive and even in inverted flight.
Soon this helicopter will be handed over to 36 Attack Helicopter Regiment in Fritzlar and put its extraordinary capabilities at the service of the German Army.