The German Navy will get new helicopters for their frigates: They will be called Sea Tiger and will be mainly used to fight surface ships and submarines. The Budget Committee of the Bundestag has now released around 2.7 billion euros for the 31 multi-role helicopters.
Like the Sea Lion naval transport helicopter, the Sea Tigers are based on the [NFH-90] naval variant of the NATO NH-90 helicopter. The new helicopters will be equipped for various operational roles. In addition to the helicopters, the contract also includes accessories, spare parts and training materials for a total of about 2.7 billion euros. The Sea Tigers are to replace the Sea Lynx Mk88A machines that have been in service since the 1980s by the end of 2025.
An important weapon system for frigates
On-board helicopters are an integral part of the frigates, and carry out a wide range of missions. The new Sea Tigers will in future be the Bundeswehr's only multi-role combat helicopters. For the frigates, they offer protection from enemy attacks at close range. Armed with torpedoes or guided missiles, they are used both for submarine hunting and for fighting ships.
In addition, the aircraft can take on transport tasks to and from ships and be used in search and rescue missions within a task force. On-board helicopters enormously expand the capabilities of the frigates.
Sea Tiger and Sea Lion share a platform
As with the Sea Lion marine transport helicopter, the NH-90 Naval Frigate Helicopter (NFH) forms the structural basis for the new multi-role capable on-board helicopters. The Bundeswehr expects this to offer advantages in terms of training and maintenance, as well as for the inventory of operating equipment and spare parts.
The multi-role Sea Tiger is primarily designed and equipped for combat tasks, while the Sea Lion is primarily optimized for sovereign search and rescue (SAR, Search and Rescue) missions as well as transport.