Eurocopter Tiger

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EC665 Tiger
P1090159 retusche.jpg
French Army Tiger
Type: Multipurpose combat helicopter
Design country:

Airbus Helicopters

First flight:

April 27, 1991



Production time:

In series production since March 2002

Number of pieces:

159 (as of June 2017)

Tiger in flight, 2006

The Tiger is a Franco-German attack helicopter from Airbus Helicopters . Originally it was called anti-tank helicopter 2 ( PAH-2 ) in Germany , but after its introduction the Bundeswehr used it as the Tiger Support Helicopter ( UHT ) . In October 2013, the Army Development Office officially designated the Tiger Combat Helicopter ( KHT ). It can be air-loaded with the Airbus A400M transport aircraft . The tiger's engine is being built by the MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce GmbH (MTR) consortium in Hallbergmoos near Munich . The final assembly of the helicopter takes place in Donauwörth , Marignane , Albacete and Australia.



In 1984 the German and French governments put together a catalog of requirements for a modern multi-role attack helicopter. A joint venture consisting of the French Aérospatiale and the German MBB was later determined as the manufacturer of choice.

Due to high costs, the program was initially canceled in 1986, but resumed the following year.

In November 1989 the consortium was commissioned to build five prototypes. Three were to become unarmed test platforms and one of the two remaining prototypes was to be equipped with the German anti-tank version and the French escort helicopter and fire support version. The MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce GmbH (MTR) consortium in Hallbergmoos near Munich , founded in 1989, was commissioned to build the Tiger MTR390-2C engine .

After German reunification , the German concept of the pure anti-tank helicopter (PAH 2) was revised and resulted in a multi-purpose version (UHT), which combines the tasks of anti-tank and escort or fire support variants. The first prototype flew in April 1991. When the helicopter divisions of Aerospatiale and MBB were absorbed into the Eurocopter Group in 1992 , the Tiger program was also incorporated into the new group.

The first major public appearance of the new helicopter (namely the prototype PT3) took place in the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye . The film refers to the helicopter's EMP protection, but the rescue system also shown is fictitious.

Series production of the tiger began in March 2002. The first flight of a series-produced Tiger HAP for the French army took place in March 2003. The final delivery of the first of 80 helicopters ordered by France began in September 2003 (the order was reduced to 60 in 2015). At the end of 2003, the delivery of the first of the 80 German UH-Tigers also planned at the time began to the Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB), where it passed various tests. In 2005 the first German series Tigers were transferred to the Franco-German flight school in Le Luc , where they are used for pilot training. By the end of 2009, four of the planned 32 Tigers were stationed with the 36 "Kurhessen" combat helicopter regiment in Fritzlar in northern Hesse. At this point in time, the first ten Bundeswehr pilots were in the final three-stage type training in order to receive the "Combat ready" status on the Tiger. The incorporation of the first Tigers into the combat helicopter regiment 26 “Franconia” in Roth was in preparation until 2011. 32 tigers were to be stationed in Fritzlar and Roth. The tiger is now stationed exclusively in Fritzlar. It replaces the German PAH-1 in these regiments . The advantages of the Tiger compared to the PAH-1 are mainly the better and more flexible armament, the high maneuverability and speed, the modern technology and the use of modern composite materials , which guarantee higher crash safety and bullet resistance with lower weight.

Eurocopter places the EC 665 as a competitor to Boeing's AH-64 Apache . Here, however, Eurocopter initially suffered a severe setback when Great Britain decided against the Tiger and the Apache for a major order for 67 attack helicopters. In December 2001, however, Eurocopter was able to conclude a contract with the Australian government for the delivery of 22 Tiger ARH configured as reconnaissance aircraft. The first Tiger ARH were delivered to Australia at the end of 2004.

In September 2003, Spain selected a variant of the HAD version for service in the Spanish army . The 24 ordered helicopters of this type can be armed with Trigat , Spike and Mistral missiles. Furthermore, they are with improved turbines equipped type MTR390-E to accommodate larger payloads to carry. The delivery should take place approximately from 2010 to 2014.

In the course of the restructuring and renaming of the parent company EADS to the Airbus Group , it was decided in August 2013 to rename the Eurocopter company to Airbus Helicopters from January 2014 .


  • PT1 / F-ZWWW: aerodynamic prototype with simple avionics , first flight on April 27, 1991. The prototype was equipped with mock-ups of the roof and mast sights, the turret machine cannon and weapon containers. Was then used for structural load tests and from 1996 as an exhibit. Flew 502 hours.
  • PT2 / F-ZWWY: Rollout on November 9, 1992, first flight on April 22, 1993. Aerodynamically equivalent to the HAP version and contained the complete avionics. Was used for measurements of the radar cross section and optimization of the camouflage properties. Was upgraded to the HAP version in November 1996 and henceforth called PT2R. Mistral shot tests on 14/15. December 1998, unguided missile tests in June 1999. Used between April 4 and May 12, 2000 as PT2R2 for HAP qualification test in Landes. Named PT2X in 2001 and used for HOT3 tests. Used from May 2002 for deck landings on the TCD Siroco.
  • PT3 / 9823: Full avionics (including autopilot and navigation system), maiden flight on November 19, 1993 as F-ZWWT. The conversion to UHT began in February 1997, then referred to as PT3R. In June 1999 rocket launches at great distances, at night and under poor visibility, desert tests on the Bateen AB in Abu Dhabi in September 1999. This machine has been on display in the Bückeburg helicopter museum since August 2013 .
  • PT4 / F-ZWWU: HAP configuration and avionics (including TopOwl helmet visor and shooting capability), first flight on December 15, 1994. Roof visor tests in early 1995, tests with the on-board machine gun in April in Toulon. The full test began on September 21, 1995 at the Cazaux military airfield . The extensive cannon and mistral tests lasted from the end of November 1995 to 1997. Were painted in three-color camouflage scheme. Winter tests in Sweden 1997 with runners. Crashed on February 17, 1998 while flying deep in the night in Australia.
  • PT5 / 9825: Full UHT avionics package, first flight on February 21, 1996. Used to test German weapon systems with Osiris mast sights (Stinger, HOT2 and 12.7 mm gunpod). Converted as PT5R designated with production standard weapon system, first flight on October 8, 1999.
  • PT6: Used for stress, fatigue and crash tests.
  • PT7: Used for stress, fatigue and crash tests.
  • PS1 / F-ZVLJ: Pre-series HAP built in Marignane with series production machines and processes. Construction began in 1998, maiden flight on December 21, 2000. Served to optimize production processes.
  • UHT S01 / 9826: First production Tiger, rollout on March 22nd, first flight on August 2nd, 2002. Replaced PT5R in tests.
  • HAP S01: First French series Tiger, first flight (F-ZKDB) on March 26, 2003, handed over to the French army in July 2003.



The Tiger is an attack helicopter in a classic main-and-tail rotor configuration . The cockpit is built in a tandem arrangement, as is typical for combat helicopters. In contrast to all combat helicopters currently in use worldwide, the pilot in the Tiger sits in the front seat and the gunner behind it. In order to improve the view for the shooter in the back, the seats are staggered in height. The rotor blades can be folded in around six to seven minutes, which makes the Tiger suitable for air and sea transport.

Body and airframe

The slim, low-resistance fuselage consists of 80% composite materials, which results in a lower radar signature and increases crash safety. So up to a vertical descent speed of 10.5 m / s, 8 m / s lateral and 12 m / s longitudinal speed, the required probability of survival is given. A low-reflection paint also helps protect against enemy detection. On the sides of the fuselage there are two stub wings for holding weapons. There is a cannon turret at the bow (except for the UHT version).

The aircraft cell consists of 80% plastic reinforced with carbon , aramid and glass fibers , Nomex honeycomb and rigid foams . The stub wings consist of aluminum frames with CFRP ribs and a CFRP outer skin. The plastic construction reduces maintenance costs due to the long service life of the aircraft cell. In contrast to aluminum and steel construction , the material is subject to significantly less material fatigue and no corrosion. 11% of the empty mass is accounted for by aluminum and another 6% by titanium alloys .

The front fuselage section with the cockpits as well as the rotor blades and hub are manufactured in Donauwörth , the middle section with the weapon pylons and the engines as well as the landing gear and the tail rotor in Marignane, France . The tail boom with the tail units is assembled in Albacete, Spain . The final assembly of the machines takes place in Donauwörth, Marignane, Albacete or Australia.


Open engine cover
Open exhaust system

The helicopter is powered by two Rolls-Royce / Turboméca / MTU-MTR-390 engines, which are started with an APU . To protect against foreign bodies being sucked in (so-called FOD ), the engine intake openings are provided with protective grilles. In the subsequent two-stage radial compressor , the intake air is compressed to a pressure ratio of 13: 1. The twin-shaft engine is equipped with a reversing annular combustion chamber , one of the three axial turbine stages drives the compressor shaft; As a free-wheeling turbine, two stages deliver up to 958 kW shaft power to the intermediate gear. The further developed version MTR-390-E has a higher compression ratio of 14: 1 and 1094 kW shaft power, but is slightly heavier than the engine that originally weighed 169 kg. Both engine versions are FADEC -controlled, 1078 mm long, 442 mm wide and 682 mm high and are mainly made of titanium alloys and have a modular structure. If an engine fails, the helicopter is still able to carry out its combat mission if it is not heavier than 5.9 tons.

The main gearbox is also made of titanium alloys and should be able to run dry for up to 30 minutes in the event of oil loss; in tests, up to 65 minutes were achieved.


The Tiger has a right-hand hingeless four-blade main rotor with a center piece made of titanium. Flapping and pivoting movements during the blade rotation are made possible by the elastic bending of the rotor blade root; Changes in the angle of attack due to elastomer bearings. The rotor blades are made of fiber composite materials. The tail rotor is three-bladed.


As with every combat helicopter, great importance was attached to high survivability with the Tiger. The air-conditioned cabin is equipped with an ABC filter system so that the helicopter can also be fully deployed in atomically, biologically or chemically contaminated areas. The main and tail rotors are resistant to fire from heavy machine guns and bird strikes. The fuel tanks are self-sealing and equipped with an explosion suppression system. A copper / bronze grille built into the aircraft cell provides complete shielding against lightning strikes and electromagnetic impulses (EMP) . The aircraft cell and the seats are designed to absorb the impact energy within certain limits in the event of a crash .


Although the Tiger is not a stealth helicopter and no radar absorbing materials are used, several measures have been taken to reduce the frontal radar signature. The front silhouette is only ≈6 m². The high positioning of the visor makes it possible to keep the helicopter under cover while overlooking the battlefield. The fiber composite structure of the cell ensures a low radar echo. On curves of the body, especially concave, was avoided as far as possible. Radar radiation arriving from the front is reflected upwards by the shape of the aircraft cell. The rotor blades are made of radar-permeable glass fiber reinforced plastic .

The anti-tank guided weapons of the type Trigat-LR and unguided rockets are transported in square launch containers. The jet of exhaust gas from the engines is cooled; for this purpose, there is a second opening for the cooling air behind the grated intake opening of an engine. The cooled exhaust gases are expelled at the rear, whereby the extended underside makes it difficult to see from below and in front and in the downdraft a faster mixing with the ambient air takes place.

Self protection

The Tiger is equipped with the self-protection systems described below. They consist of a passive radar and laser warning system (RWR and LWR) and a missile warning system (MLD). Decoys are used as a countermeasure.

Missile warning system MILDS AN / AAR-60

The AN / AAR-60 MILDS (Missile Launch Detection System) is a missile warning system . It uses four to six high-resolution, uncooled ultraviolet radiation sensors to localize approaching missiles based on their exhaust gas jet. This means that passively guided weapons such as the FIM-92 Stinger and 9K38 Igla can also be located. A sensor weighs approximately 2 kg. The AN / AAR-60 provides coverage of 360 ° in the horizontal and 95 ° in the vertical and can track up to eight guided missiles simultaneously. The system is linked to the other defensive measures, and the data is processed by the MILDS itself.

Threat Warning Equipment

The Threat Warning Equipment (TWE) was developed by Thales and consists of a broadband radar receiver and a laser warning device from EADS as well as a main processor for data processing. The sensors transmit data to the crew from enemy radars and laser-guided weapons aimed at the helicopter. The radar warning device can detect and classify several transmission sources and determine their direction. The system controls all self-defense measures of the attack helicopter, such as the MILDS and Saphir-M, countermeasures are initiated either on input from the crew or fully automatically.


The Saphir-M is the further development of the Saphir decoy system . It is also used in the NH90 transport helicopter . It can launch decoys against infrared and radar guided weapons. The heat flares are optimized against shoulder-supported weapon systems. The Saphir-M is connected to the TWE, from where it can be triggered automatically or manually. It has ten magazines with countermeasures; 18 to 72 flares can be loaded per magazine. Depending on the threat, different emission modes can be selected, which are determined by the main processor of the threat warning equipment .

  • 10 × Saphir-M decoys launchers with 32 decoys (25 mm wide), optionally 72 decoys (19 mm wide) can also be used


The avionics includes an autopilot and the EuroGrid Battlefield Management System from EADS. All important systems are available either twice or three times and are networked with a MIL-STD-1553 data bus. The tiger is not only capable of night flight, it is also capable of night fighting. A GPS receiver, two laser gyros from Thales, two magnetometers , two air data computers , a CMA 2012 Doppler radar and various pitot probes are available to determine your own position . The position of your own helicopter and detected opponents is shown on a topographic map; it is possible to pass the position of discovered targets on to another tiger. A connection to the Multifunctional Information Distribution System as with the Eurofighter was not carried out - a point that was heavily criticized by the Federal Audit Office because it significantly limits the ability to conduct network-centric warfare .


Pilot's instruments

The tiger is equipped with glass cockpits . The pilot's instruments are divided into eight main groups. The two multi-function displays provide the pilot with flight data, engine performance, speed, course, the artificial horizon and navigation information. If one MFD fails, the second is able to display all other data. To the right of the MFDs is an emergency instrumentation that the pilot can fall back on if both MFDs should fail. There is an alarm panel above the MFDs that indicates damage or malfunctions. The communication instrumentation and the weapon control panel are installed on the right and left.

The pilot's duties are:

  • Flight guidance of the helicopter
  • Cooperative flight guidance for preparatory weapons use by the weapons system officer
  • Use of armament
  • Air traffic radiotelephone

The weapons system officer (WSO) has a two-part range of tasks. On the one hand, it is subject to:

  • Mission management
  • tactical radio communications
  • tactical command or command of the helicopter
  • Timely non-urgent use of weapons
  • Weapon system management
  • Protective and countermeasures
  • Preparing for deployment for the weapon systems

On the other hand, while he controls the helicopter himself, he is subject to:

  • Use of armament
  • air combat specific tasks

The WSO's cockpit is only slightly different from that of the pilot. The MFDs are arranged one below the other and the alarm panel is mounted to the right of the two screens. To the left of it is the weapon selection and control panel. In addition, there is a head-in display and a radio in the cockpit of the WSO.


Sagem Strix under the main rotor

The Strix is ​​the roof visor for the HAP, HAD and ARH versions of the Sagem Tiger . It contains infrared and CCD television cameras as well as direct optics and a locator for HOT3 guided missiles. There is also a laser range finder and laser target illuminator to guide your own or someone else's laser-guided weapons to the target ( buddy lasing ). With the help of a laser spot tracker , laser target marks of allied units can be detected and automatically tracked. The shooter aims with the help of a sight hanging from the cabin roof. After a target is locked, the Strix will automatically track it.


Mast above the rotor head with Osiris sensor system

The Osiris is the mast sight of the tiger from Sagem. The mast mounting allows the helicopter to stay completely under cover while looking for targets or observing, but the increased air resistance reduces the top speed by 25 km / h. The Osiris consists of infrared and CCD television cameras and a laser rangefinder, and there is also a location device for the HOT3 anti-tank missiles. The shooter aims with the help of a sight hanging from the cabin roof. After a target has been activated, the Osiris will automatically track it. With the sensor, it is possible to fire four Trigat missiles at different targets within eight seconds without actively emitting emissions. It can also be used to photograph targets for reconnaissance purposes.

Pilot Sight Unit

Instead of a turret machine cannon, the tiger has a forward looking infrared (FLIR) that can be swiveled and nodded with a field of view of 40 × 30 °. The system can be coupled with the pilot's helmet movement, and the thermal image is projected onto the pilot's head-mounted display . This enables him to fly the helicopter even in poor visibility. The same system is also used in the NH90 transport helicopter .

Helmet systems

French, Australian and Spanish Tiger crews use the TopOwl head-mounted display from Thales Avionics. Instead of the conventional systems, two cameras that intensify residual light are installed on the left and right of the helmet, the images of which can be projected onto the visor to replace conventional night vision devices. The more natural weight distribution compared to conventional night vision devices reduces the strain on the neck muscles and enables a less restricted field of vision. Flight data and information are also projected onto the helmet display so that they are also available when looking out of the side windows. The helmet is equipped with sensors that detect the pilot's head movements in order to control the roof or mast sight or the tower machine gun accordingly. The helmet functions are controlled via HOCAS (Hand On Collective And Stick). German Tiger crews, on the other hand, use the Knight helmet from BAE Systems with similar properties.


The operational aeronautical radio communication ( Mobile Air Service (OR) ) - Air / Ground / Air - takes place in the VHF radio band (OR) and in the NATO-wide harmonized UHF frequency band 225–400 MHz. The data communication system is Link 16 capable. The Tiger can also send and receive data through military communications satellites.


Tiger's 30mm automatic cannon

The automatic cannon is used in the chin turret in the HAP, HAD and ARH versions. The ammunition supply is 150 to 450 rounds. The weapon is praised by Eurocopter for its precision, so all projectiles of a 5-shot burst are said to have hit a 2 × 2 meter target in a shot test at 1000 meters. According to the manufacturer, this precision is not achieved by any other combat helicopter.

  • 4 weapon pylons

The following can be carried under the stub wings and, if necessary, thrown off:

Armament options 1 outside left inside left inside right outside right User country
12.7mm MG FN HMP 400 POD 2 0 1 1 0 GermanyGermany Germany
20mm MK pod 0 1 1 0 FranceFrance France
FIM-92 stinger 2 0 0 2 GermanyGermany Germany ; AustraliaAustraliaAustralia 
mistral 2 0 0 2 FranceFrance France ; SpainSpainSpain 
70 mm missiles FZ 7th 7/19 7/19 7th SpainSpain Spain ; Australia ; GermanyAustraliaAustralia GermanyGermany 
68 mm missile SNEB 12 12/22 12/22 12 FranceFrance France
PARS 3-LR 0 4th 4th 0 GermanyGermany Germany
HOT 3 0 4th 4th 0 GermanyGermany Germany
Hellfire II 0 4th 4th 0 AustraliaAustralia Australia ; FranceFranceFrance 
Spike-ER 0 4th 4th 0 SpainSpain Spain
350 l tank 0 1 1 0 FranceFrance France ; Spain ; Australia ; GermanySpainSpain AustraliaAustralia GermanyGermany 
1 Asymmetrical loads are also possible
2 With 400 rounds of ammunition per machine-gun pod

Until the end of 2012 / beginning of 2013, the German helicopters could only be armed with stingers at the outer weapon stations. As part of the THOR combat value enhancement program , a previously unknown number of German UH TIGERs was retrofitted on both stub wings with a total of four interchangeable weapon stations, which, among other things, allow 70 mm rockets to be carried at the outer weapon stations. The 70-mm rockets are available to German helicopters as part of the Tiger contingent in Afghanistan with the following warheads: Spreng , Splitter, Bomblet and Multidart.


Tiger HAP (France)

The Tiger HAP / HCP ( H élicoptère d ' A ppui et P rotection , fr. For "support and escort helicopter " / H élicoptère de C ombat P olyvalent , fr. For "multipurpose combat helicopter" ) is a medium-weight air-to-air and fire support helicopter which is produced for the French army. This version will be replaced by the HAD version during production.

After four years, the HAP Standard 1 (France) and UHT Step 2 / Step 3 (Germany) versions of the Tiger attack helicopter received their final qualification on December 29, 2008. This included in particular the suitability for ship-based use and the integration of a data link system for the Tiger HAP. France has ordered 40 Tiger HAPs, which are equipped with a 30 mm on-board gun from GIAT in the swiveling chin turret, 68 mm missiles and a STRIX visor mounted on the cockpit roof . The Tiger HAP carries containers for unguided rockets and mistral air-to-air missiles on the side pylons . 18 of these machines have been delivered, three of them already in the HAP Standard 1 version.

The first six helicopters for Spain were delivered in the HAP version; a later upgrade to the HAD standard is no longer planned.

France has now commissioned Airbus Helicopters to convert 36 of its Tiger HAPs to the HAD version. The first converted machine was delivered in December 2017. The measure included the replacement or installation of numerous smaller components and additional cables, but above all the conversion to more powerful engines and the installation of a laser guidance system for the integration of the Hellfire II air-to-surface missiles. Another goal of the upgrade is to homogenize the entire French Tiger fleet.

Tiger ARH (Australia)

Tiger ARH of the Australian Army

The Tiger ARH ( Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter , English for "armed reconnaissance helicopter") is the version for the Australian Army. With the help of the laser target illuminator contained in the Strix, it is possible for him to direct the Hellfire II missiles into the target. In addition, 70 mm missiles and FIM-92 stingers can be carried. In April 2015, weapon tests took place with the BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS), which can actually be used to guide unguided missiles.

Tiger HAD (France / Spain)

The Tiger HAD ( French Hélicoptère d'Appui et Destruction or Spanish Helicoptero de Apoyo y Destrucción , for example "support and hunting helicopter") is essentially identical to the HAP version, but in contrast to the HAP has an MTR-390-E - Engines with 14% increased take-off performance and improved ballistic protection. Due to the development of the HAD version, France decided to forego the planned HAC version and instead obtain the HAD version. This had its maiden flight on December 14, 2007 in Marignane. The HAD, which are being extradited to Spain, are to be equipped with the Israeli Spike-ER as primary armament. On September 16, 2010, the first Spanish Tiger HAD went into flight testing in Albacete , the first French HAD had its maiden flight on December 17, 2010. The delivery of the first two of 18 commissioned series copies of the Tiger HAD is planned for 2013.

UH Tiger (Germany)

UH Tiger at the ILA 2006
Prototype 3 of the EC665 Tiger is brought to the exhibition hall of the helicopter museum in
Flight demonstration of the UH Tiger on the WTD 61

The support helicopter Tiger (UHT) is the version for the German army . It was developed for the four main tasks of anti-tank, use against enemy helicopters, reconnaissance and to support own forces . It can fire HOT-3 anti-tank missiles and the PARS 3 LR guided missile developed in a trilateral effort, as well as unguided 70mm missiles. FIM-92 Stinger rockets are carried for aerial combat . In contrast to the versions procured from other countries, it does not have a swiveling machine cannon on the chin tower; instead, gun containers with 12.7 mm machine guns (so-called machine gun pods) can be mounted on the stub wings. A noticeable feature of the UHT is the OSIRIS mast sight attached above the main rotor, which enables observation or reconnaissance from cover and thus makes it more difficult to discover the helicopter (appropriate cover, e.g. trees provided). It also has a FLIR vision system at the tip of the fuselage.

The first qualification according to the “PBL001” standard was granted in 2004 and only enabled training missions in the Franco-German pilot school at the Le Luc-Le Cannet airfield in southern France. On December 29, 2008, the HAP Standard 1 (France) and UHT Step 2 / Step 3 (Germany) versions of the Tiger attack helicopter received their final qualification. The PBL002 largely corresponds to the UHT series version. According to Eurocopter, the granting of the final qualification paved the way for the helicopters to be put into service and used in missions abroad.

No spare parts were available for the UHT STEP 1 from 2009, because this pre-production version of the helicopter was used longer than planned. For this reason, the machines in PBL001 configuration had to be upgraded to the UHT PBL002 version, for which the supply of spare parts is guaranteed. Now that these problems have been completely resolved, the approved series machines are currently being supplied. With the final qualification, all open points have been clarified and additional functions have been checked. This also includes new encrypted radio and data link systems for the Tiger, according to the manufacturer.

The Ministry of Defense was planning (as of 2011) to equip the last 16 of the total of 80 ordered Tigers with the performance-enhanced MTR-390-E engine, which offers 14% more power. This engine variant is intended for use in environments under "high-and-hot" conditions, such as in Afghanistan. The Federal Office for Defense Technology and Procurement pointed out, however, that from a technical point of view, the use of the UHT in Afghanistan was in principle also possible with the engine configuration that had existed to date.

As part of the “German Deal”, the number of Tigers ordered was reduced to 68 pieces. This figure also includes the decision not to buy back 11 helicopters by the industry. The contract also includes the purchase of spare parts, as requested in a report by the auditing company KPMG . The contract change with NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) was concluded on June 10, 2015.


UH Tiger at the ILA 2010

The German Tiger combat helicopter, of which the Bundeswehr ordered a total of 80 units in 1999, was initially not operational, according to a letter from the Parliamentary State Secretary in the Defense Ministry, Christian Schmidt , to the defense policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Rainer Arnold .

The reason given in the paper was: “The delays in the Tiger program are largely due to technical problems. For example, there are [...] significant deficiencies in the area of ​​cabling ”.

This problem, namely the occurrence of chafing marks on the cable sheathing and in some cases on the cables themselves, has now been remedied by the manufacturer. For this purpose, the Bundeswehr received two Tigers with more robust cable sets in July 2010, with which the manufacturer's solution was checked as part of the flight tests. With the French tigers, the same problem was solved by re-laying the affected cables. The Bundeswehr had announced that it would make additional testing personnel available to accelerate the final inspection of the brand new machines. According to the report, SPD defense expert Hans-Peter Bartels said: “This is a sign of poverty for the industry and the procurement bureaucracy of the Bundeswehr. The helicopter will no longer be used in Afghanistan ”.

Bartels also accused the German Armed Forces of having ordered unsuitable armament: “The Tiger is optimized for anti-tank defense; it is second best to break bunkers. The German model does not have an on-board cannon like the French Tiger version ”. The Ministry of Defense rejected a conversion of the UHT to the French armament offered by Eurocopter in 2010 on the grounds that it did not want a helicopter that was specifically tailored to the Afghanistan mission, but also wanted to keep an eye on future threat scenarios.

A request for information submitted in August 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act on the armament of the UHT was answered by the BMVg as follows: "In order to be able to be used in the full spectrum of possible deployment scenarios and to be able to act quickly against a wide range of targets, the armament of the UH Tiger designed so that it is capable of multiple roles and can easily be converted with the resources of the troops. Combat is possible while hovering or while moving. This means that the UH Tiger has an armament that enables it - even in comparison with helicopters from other nations - to be used in all intended tasks. "

From a tactical point of view, the lack of the 30 mm on-board cannon is disadvantageous, but can be partially compensated for by the 12.7 mm MG pod of the FN HMP 400 type . The caliber is sufficient to provide close air support against unarmored and lightly armored targets. Apart from the smaller caliber of the weapon, there is a tactical disadvantage of the MG pod compared to the on-board cannon in that the machine gun is pointed rigidly forwards, while the on-board cannon can be pivoted. This primarily has a negative effect on the self-protection of the helicopter, since to combat a threat source the aircraft must be turned in its direction, while a pivoting on-board cannon can also be aimed at targets outside the direction of flight. There are no conceptual plans for retrofitting the RMK 30, as such a project would involve considerable technical, temporal and, above all, financial risks.

Nonetheless, the UH Tiger was made ready for use by the end of 2012 at full speed. In mid-2011, for example, the Bundeswehr organized two "Live Fire" training courses. First in Grafenwoehr and for the first time in history as part of a joint exercise with attack helicopters of the United States Army in mid-May 2011, and secondly from June 14 to June 22, 2011 in Upper Lusatia, where individual exercises, crew exercises and tactical riot exercises, also in cooperation with Forward Air Controllers (FAC) of the Luftwaffe . In addition, the precision of the UHT in conjunction with the PARS 3 LR was confirmed on May 20 and 21, 2011 as part of a shot test carried out by MBDA . On the test site in Vidsel, Sweden, three rockets were fired with a sharp shot, two of them in hover flight (each on a stationary and a moving target) and one in forward flight. The hit rate was 100%.

In the run-up to the first Afghanistan mission of four aircraft from the end of 2012 / beginning of 2013, two tigers were relocated to Holloman Air Force Base in June 2012 as part of exercise Falcor 2012 , where they were tested under hot & high and desert conditions. These were machines from the ASGARD-F (Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment-Full) equipment status , which were optimized for use in Afghanistan. This special configuration includes ballistic protection against fire from the ground and sand filters for the engines. A total of twelve Tigers were converted, the last one was handed over to the 36 Combat Helicopter Regiment on March 6, 2014.

During a visit by the 36th Combat Helicopter Regiment to Fritzlar, State Secretary Christian Schmidt announced that no more tigers would be stationed in Afghanistan for an ISAF follow-up mission after 2014.

From the end of January 2017, the Bundeswehr relocated four Tiger attack helicopters to Gao in Mali as part of the military operation of the multidimensional, integrated stabilization mission of the United Nations in Mali (MINUSMA).

Delivery status

At the beginning of 2011, the UH Tiger was approved for use by the Federal Aviation Office .

A total of 27 machines were delivered in mid-February 2013, five of which are UHT in STEP 1 configuration as part of pilot training at DEU / FRA HFlgAusbZ Tiger in LeLuc. Two UHTs in STEP 2 configuration are stationed at WTD 61 for further troop testing, and two machines in this configuration are stationed at TSLw 3 in Faßberg for technician training. Three more STEP-2 machines and 15 Tigers in the STEP 2 KRYPTO configuration (nine of them ASGARD-F helicopters) are currently stationed with the 36th Combat Helicopter Regiment in Fritzlar. This gave the operational regiment a total of 18 helicopters. In the course of 2013 eight more helicopters should arrive.

By the beginning of December 2015, the number of Tigers delivered had increased to 43. However, only 23 of these were in the troop's inventory and only six Tigers were fully operational at this time.

In mid-March 2016, a total of 48 Tigers were delivered, of which 12 are in the phase out due to the planned upper limit of 40 attack helicopters. In order to standardize the helicopter variants used, in addition to the above Phasing out older tigers, also advancing the conversion to the standardized ASGARD construction stage. It is intended to convert a further 33 helicopters to the ASGARD configuration. The clarity of operational and partially operational aircraft was increased to 15 aircraft in March 2016 (2015 average of 6 aircraft).

On July 25, 2018, Airbus Helicopters Deutschland handed over the last of the 68 UH Tigers to the BAAINBw in a ceremony. A total of 13 years passed between the delivery of the first tiger in 2005 and the acceptance of the last helicopter of this type for the Bundeswehr. In the future, however, over 30 older machines will still receive necessary adjustments to their hardware and software during the usage phase. This became necessary because the requirements for the aircraft - not least due to the participation in missions in Afghanistan and Mali - had changed again and again and thus various different armaments were put into service (see above).

Tiger Mk.2

The "Mark 2" is a modernized and "on-board" version of the French version HAD. These are created by converting delivered copies. The modernization includes renewed avionics and communication systems as well as laser-guided missiles. The first modernized tigers should be available in 2018/19.

Tiger Mk.3

The "Mark 3" is a study that has been in development since 2015 for the upcoming MLU (Mid-Life-Upgrade) program of the weapon system. The development commissioned by OCCAR is intended to test new materials and improvements, taking into account the experiences from Afghanistan, Libya and Mali.


Initially, the procurement program provided for 212 helicopters for Germany and 215 for France. The total costs estimated for this amounted to 18 billion DM in 1988; first deliveries should begin in 1997. The numbers were significantly reduced after the end of the Cold War .

The following states have the tiger or are planning to acquire it:

  • Germany: 53 (including 2 in phase out, originally 80) of the UHT version
  • France: 67 (originally 40 of the HAP plus 40 of the HAD version, in the meantime shortened to 60 and increased again to 67 at the end of 2015. All HAP are to be converted to HAD.)
  • Spain: 24, including 6 in the HAP and 18 in the HAD-E variant
  • Australia: 22 of the ARH variant

By May 2011, 30 Tigers (all in HAP configuration) had been delivered to France, 16 to Germany, 20 to Australia and six to Spain, a total of 72.

The system price (helicopter, armament, support) depends on both the number of pieces and the version. In 2002 Spain received an offer for 20/28 helicopters.

  • Tiger HAP $ 35 / $ 39 million
  • Tiger ARH $ 36 million
  • Tiger HAD $ 44-48 million
  • UH Tiger ≈45 million euros. Additional costs arise from adapting the equipment, for example purchasing more powerful engines for 16 helicopters.
AustraliaAustralia Australia
Australian Army Aviation (AAAvn)
The School of Army Aviation at AAF Oakey Base in Queensland , 160 km west of Brisbane , operates some ARH tigers for training.
A few operate the Aircraft Research and Development Unit on RAAF Base Edinburgh .
The majority of the 22 Australian machines belong to the 1st Aviation Regiment with the 161st and 162nd Reconnaissance Squadron , which is located in the Robertson Barracks in Darwin in Northern Australia .
The government plans to replace all Tigers with a new attack helicopter starting in mid-2020. The background to this decision is the poor operational readiness of the machines, the high maintenance costs of the MTR-390C engines and the failure to achieve full operational capability ; which had to be postponed again to 2016 in 2015. In 2016, for example, it became known that the operational readiness of the helicopters over the entire past year was only 3.5 out of 16 helicopters put into service. The investigating Australia National Audit Office found 76 so-called capability deficiencies , of which 60 were classified as "critical".
GermanyGermany Germany
Army aviators
The first five of the 68 Tiger of Army Aviation were to the Franco-German Army Aviation Training Center TIGER (EFA, French. Abbr. Of école franco-allemande ) in Le Cannet-des-Maures , southern France , delivered. The German part belongs to the International Helicopter Training Center in Bückeburg .
The only task force is the combat helicopter regiment 36 (KHR 36) "Kurhessen" in Fritzlar . In total, only 40 of the ordered helicopters are to be put into service.
FranceFrance France
Aviation Legere de l'armée de Terre (ALAT)
The first Tigre in the HAP version are next to their German counterparts for training in Le Cannet-des-Maures at the EFA. The first task force is the 5e Régiment d'Hélicoptères de Combat (5RHC) from Pau in Aquitaine . The second task force, at the same time the first with the HAD version, has been the 1st Régiment d'Hélicoptères de Combat (1RHC) from Phalsbourg in Lorraine since December 2013 .
SpainSpain Spain
Fuerzas Aeromóviles del Ejército de Tierra (FAMET)
The Tigre , which has been delivered in the HAP version for training purposes since 2005, are known as HA.28 in Spain. The first pilots were trained in Le Luc , but the Batallón de Helicópteros de Ataque I (BHELA I), which is based on the Coronel Sánchez Bilbao base in Almagro near Ciudad Real in La Mancha , has had its own simulator since the beginning of 2010 . All 24 ordered tigers are to be subordinated to this battalion. The first two of a total of 18 machines of the HAD-E variant were delivered at the end of 2014. Originally it was planned to upgrade the six copies of the HAP version to HAD-E, but this is no longer planned for reasons of economy.

The Chilean army is also showing interest in acquiring six tigers plus six options.



On July 26th, 2009 three Tiger-HAP machines of the French Army Aviation (ALAT) des 5e régiment d'hélicoptères de combat (5e RHC) as part of the Forces françaises en Afghanistan with an Antonov An-124 of the Volga-Dnepr Airlines to Kabul flew and thus began the first foreign deployment of Tiger helicopters in Afghanistan . At the beginning of August 2009, operational readiness was established.

On August 20, 2009, twelve rockets from a Tiger combat helicopter were fired for the first time in Afghanistan.

On May 23, 2011, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé announced that a Mistral-class ship , the amphibious helicopter carrier Tonnerre (L9014), with embarked Tiger helicopters had been dispatched to support the mission in Libya ( UN Resolution 1973 ). The Tiger helicopters first actively intervened in the fighting in Libya on the morning of June 4, 2011, fighting military vehicles and military equipment near the eastern Libyan city of Brega . The crews were extremely satisfied with the tigers, as it can attack at low altitude on a pitch-dark night and has a long range. However, since the French Tigers only have unguided missiles, an older Gazelle type helicopter with HOT guided missiles had to fight hard targets over greater distances.


ISAF mission

When they were ready for action, four UH Tigers of the 36th Combat Helicopter Regiment , equipped with the ASGARD-F upgrade, were sent to Afghanistan as part of the ISAF mission and placed under the command of the Mazar-e Sharif squadron. Two of the machines acted as operational rotters, while the other two were kept ready as technical reserves. The first two tigers were flown to Afghanistan on December 13, 2012, the others followed on December 20, 2012. After technical checks and tactical training measures for the aircraft crews, the readiness of the German tigers was reported on January 30, 2013. The first publicly known combat mission of the German tigers took place on May 4, 2013 in the Baghlan region. A group of 17 KSK soldiers were ambushed near a river crossing in the village of Zaman Kheyl. The German soldiers then requested close air support via radio, which was provided by two German Tiger helicopters, among other things. As part of this support, the two Tigers fired missiles at enemy positions. The mission of the German UH Tiger officially ended on June 30, 2014 after a year and a half and a total of 1860 flight hours.

On July 29, 2014, the last attack helicopter returned to Germany via Leipzig Airport.


After the Royal Air Force of the Netherlands decided to withdraw its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters after several years of service at MINUSMA, the German government agreed to send a mixed army aviation unit to Mali. To this end, the army sent three NH90 - MedEvac and Eurocopter-Tiger combat helicopters each to protect the NH90, as well as one additional helicopter of the respective type as a reserve to Gao. The machines and personnel are provided by the 10th transport helicopter regiment from Faßberg , the 30th transport helicopter regiment from Niederstetten and the 36 combat helicopter regiment from Fritzlar .

On March 21, 2017, the first two Tiger combat helicopters arrived in Bamako by SALIS air transport using An-124 , where they will be made operational again and then relocated to Gao. The full operational capability (FOC) for the Tiger attack helicopters was planned for the beginning of May. The FOC for the NH-90 was reported on April 24, 2017.

On May 5, 2017, the Tiger combat helicopter was deployed for the first time at MINUSMA. On July 26, 2017, one of the four helicopters crashed (see incidents ).


On March 26, 2013, Spain's army aviation FAMET relocated three HAP tigers of the Batallón de Helicópteros de Ataque I (BHELA I) from the Torrejón de Ardoz airfield to Herat in western Afghanistan. The operational readiness was established on April 9, 2013.

The three Tigers, who are subordinate to the ASPUHEL squadron , are supposed to support the gradual withdrawal of troops as part of the Spanish ISAF mission .


  • On February 17, 1998, a French tiger crashed during a night flight near Townsville, Australia . The cause was identified as human error as a result of which the fully functional helicopter collided with the ground. The French pilot and his Australian passenger suffered only minor injuries and the helicopter was destroyed.
  • On February 4, 2011, a French Army Tiger HAP crashed during a night flight near Kabul, the two pilots were only slightly injured. Enemy fire has been ruled out as a cause of the crash.
  • On March 8, 2012, a Tiger ARH of the Australian Army had to perform an emergency landing after touching a power line about 45 kilometers north of the Oakey Army Aviation Center during a training flight . Both crew members were uninjured and the damage to the helicopter was classified as "minor".
  • On March 4, 2013, a German UH Tiger with an ASGARD-F retrofit kit of the 36th Combat Helicopter Regiment crashed during a training flight near Ettal and burned out completely. The crew survived the crash with minor injuries. Until the cause was clarified, all UH Tigers in Germany were banned from flying by the respective commanders, but this was lifted two days after the crash by them and the General Aviation Safety .
  • On July 26, 2017, a Bundeswehr tiger crashed near Tabankort ( Bourem district , Gao region ) in northern Mali , killing both crew members. The helicopter burned out completely. According to the initial findings of the investigation into the accident, the helicopter lost its main rotor blades shortly after the machine had gone into a steep descent. After a temporary flight ban for the tigers of the Bundeswehr, they have been allowed to fly again since September 23, 2017. However, there are restrictions on the speed and use of the autopilot. The Bundeswehr had four Tigers in action on the UN MINUSMA mission in Mali. According to the final investigation report dated December 11, 2018, a maintenance failure was the cause of the crash; During a repair by Airbus mechanics at the Fritzlar Army Aviation site, the flight controls were incorrectly adjusted so that the crash was inevitable.

Technical specifications

Eurocopter Tiger at the ILA 2000 in Berlin
Eurocopter Tiger for the Australian Army
The Bundeswehr's Eurocopter Tiger
Armament of a Eurocopter Tiger HAP
Parameter Version HAP Version UHT Version ARH Version HAD
Type medium attack helicopter
crew Pilot and gunner
Hull length 14.08 m
Length over main rotor 15.80 m
Rotor diameter 13.00 m
Tail rotor diameter 2.70 m
Wingspan 4.50 m (with external load carriers)
height 3.83 m 5.20 m 3.83 m
Empty mass 3060 kg
normal takeoff mass 4710 kg 4860 kg 4710 kg
Max. Takeoff mass 6100 kg 6600 kg
internal fuel 1080 kg (1360 l)
Top speed 290 km / h (without armament and mast sight 315 km / h)
Marching speed 280 km / h 260 km / h 280 km / h
Rate of climb 10.7 m / s
Service ceiling 4000 m
Operational range up to ~ 800 km
Duration of use 3.1 h
Transfer range 1300 km
Engines 2 × MTR-390 2C 2 × MTR-390 E
Engine power 873 kW each
(1160 kW emergency power)
1094 kW each
(1322 kW emergency power)

See also


  • Kyrill von Gersdorff, Kurt Grasmann, Helmut Schubert: Aero engines and jet engines. Bernard & Graefe Verlag, 1995, ISBN 3-7637-6107-1 .
  • Matthias Blazek: German-French friendship in Fassberg. Report in: Cellesche Zeitung from June 28, 2012.
  • Ulrich Krotz: Flying Tiger - International Relations Theory and the Politics of Advanced Weapons. Oxford University Press, Oxford / New York 2011, ISBN 978-0-19-975993-4 .

Web links

Commons : Eurocopter Tiger  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  50.!ut/p/z1/hY_RC4IwEMb_I2-TpetRk8xIiYRye4mhwxa2yVjSQ398k8C36B4-uO-7-x0HHBrgWkyqF04ZLQbfMx5dozUp8rBGJaVFjJI9oWGJNhgdMJzh8m-E-xj9qARB3UlgnhH_ZGQEauDAOxm0Rks3q5PaKa-9Fc7YYDTWDXPytNYngeqAIZylOF5O4XeyY3nThIRkRXqagXcxideyK9r5aWA3obtBHk2bfI3xsaVVteo_9GF92g! ! / dz / d5 / L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh / # Z7_694IG2S0M88I70AJ482M0C10D4
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