PARS-3LR Completes System Validation for the German Army Tiger Helicopters

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PARS 3LR anti-tank missile launched from a German Army Tiger attack helicopter during a recent test conducted at the test range in Vidsel, Sweden. Photo: MBDA
The PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget system allows the helicopter to quit its position immediately after firing a missile, thereby limiting to the absolute minimum its exposure to the threat of retaliation. Photo: Eurocopter
The PARS 3 LR fire-and-forget system allows the helicopter to quit its position immediately after firing a missile, thereby limiting to the absolute minimum its exposure to the threat of retaliation. Photo: Eurocopter

After formal clearance by the BAAINBw (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support), PARS 3 LR is now ready to go into full-scale series production for the German Army’s Tiger helicopter. The program has recently completed the validation phase, with a series of firing trials performed by a Bundeswehr Tiger helicopter, engaging moving tanks in simulated urban terrain from a range of 3,000 meters. The test firing was carried out at the Meppen test range (located in Lower Saxony, NW Germany) on 20 September 2012. The tests confirm that PARS 3 LR completely fulfils the specified system performance requirements under operational conditions.

On 30th June 2006, the procurement contract for the PARS 3 LR precision fire-and-forget missiles was signed in Koblenz by the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB), MBDA Deutschland and Diehl BGT Defence. The contract covers industrialization and delivery of 680 missiles for the German Army by the year 2014.

The contract for industrialisation and series production of the PARS 3 LR missiles will be managed by PARSYS, a joint venture between MBDA Deutschland GmbH (50%) and Diehl BGT Defence (50%). Development of the overall PARS 3 LR system was formally completed in mid-2004. However, MBDA Deutschland has been manufacturing key components (electronics, launchers) of the PARS 3 LR system which have then been integrated by Eurocopter into the platform since the series production contract for the 80 Tiger helicopters was signed in 1998.

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While the German Army Aviation Corps is currently the only customer for the PARS 3LR, MBDA is hopeful that its new missile will be selected to equip the helicopters of the Indian Army, where it was short-listed against the Israeli Spike ER missile. MBDA has already demonstrated the PARS 3 LR in two firing campaigns, comprising six firings all of which struck their targets at the optimal hit point.

On the first test held in May 2011 MBDA conducted a successful series of test firing of the PARS 3LR guided anti-missile, carrying a live warhead. The missile was launched from a German Army Tiger helicopter. Three missiles were fired, scoring three hits. MBDA Deutschland conducted the campaign on the test range in Vidsel, Sweden. The three PARS 3 LR firings were part of a MBDA Deutschland export campaign. The guided missile system is on the short list for a procurement project of the Indian Army. MBDA’s PARS 3LR and RAFAEL Spike ER have already been shortlisted for the final phase of weapon selection for the Indian Army attack helicopters.

Two of the missiles were fired from hovering position, at an altitude of about 10 meters above treetops. The helicopter first fired at a stationary target around 7,000 m away. The second missile was fired just a few moments later at a target travelling at approximately 40 km/h., about 700 meters away. To make this shot, the Tiger turned 180° and assumed a firing position at an altitude of about 300 ft. Both PARS 3 LR missiles hit the targets precisely at their centers. The third missile was fired the next day while the Tiger was flying forward at high speed. The Tiger fired on a stationary target around 7,000 m away while the helicopter was flying at a speed of 180 km/. This guided missile also hit its target at the optimum point of impact.