Eurocopter’s EC665 Tiger HAD Helicopters
January 13/17: Early work on Tiger Mk III helicopter upgrades by the European defense procurement agency, the OCCAR, has commenced, although there is uncertainty over Australia’s participation in the project . Set up by Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, the OCCAR is in charge of the Tiger modernization program, and while Australia is not one of its members, it was hoped that Canberra, with a 22 Tiger fleet, would commit to the effort. Canberra, however, has expressed frustration with the rotorcraft, even hinting that they may ditch the Tiger in the mid-2020s. France, Germany and Spain are currently heavily involved in the program’s definition phase, which includes avionics and weapons overhauls, including the Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire and Rafael Spike, used by the Tiger’s European operators.
Eurocopter’s Tiger had always had a very odd setup in that it came in two seemingly incomplete versions (HAP scout and HAC/UHT anti-tank), whose respective deficiencies severely limited multi-role flexibility and hence exports. The new Tiger HAD (Helicoptere Appui Destruction) variant fixes those deficiencies, and looks set to become the default version for new-build EC665 Tiger exports.
The HAD project began in December 2005, as the EU’s OCCAR organization for armament cooperation signed a formal contract in Bonn, Germany and set out initial procurement numbers for Spain. This was followed by the French DGA’s announcing the restructuring of its own 80-helicopter order, and each customer has made its own choices as the new variant has gone from concept to initial delivery.
EC665 Tiger Species
The French Tiger HAP
The German Tiger UHT
Fixing the Tiger: From ARH to HAD
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