Airbus and OCCAR (Organization for Joint Armament Cooperation), which represents the armed forces of France and Spain, have signed a contract to upgrade Tiger attack and reconnaissance helicopters.
The agreement includes the upgrade of 42 French Army helicopters and 18 Spanish Army helicopters – France has the option to retrofit another 25 helicopters.
The Tiger MkIII program, as it is called, “will include the integration of the Safran Strix NG sights, the Thales FlytX avionics suite, the Topowl DD helmet-mounted sight display, an Indra IFF upgrade, Thales GNSS, and Safran’s inertial navigation system,” said Airbus.
According to the manufacturer, the new standard will allow the platform to be connected to the “digital battlefield” and thus accompany manned and unmanned aircraft, in addition to reducing the workload of the crew thanks to state-of-the-art avionics.
“The Tiger MkIII programme will provide a European answer to the need for a state-of-the-art attack helicopter for the decades to come. With this upgrade, the Tiger will remain an essential and modern asset to its armies and reinforce defence cooperation in Europe,” said Bruno Even, Airbus Helicopters CEO.
The first Tiger MkIII prototype is expected to fly in 2025 while the delivery of the first modernized helicopters will take place from 2029 (France) and 2030 (Spain).
The Tiger began to be developed in the 1980s during the Cold War by a joint venture between Aerospatiale and MBB, now part of Airbus.
The Tiger first flew in April 1991, but entry into service took 12 years to take place. Currently, France, Germany, Spain and Australia operate the attack aircraft, but the Oceanian country has already announced that it will replace its Tigers with Boeing’s AH-64E Apache.