Tiger HAD completes retrofit of first of 36 helicopters. Photo: Airbus Helicopters

Airbus Helicopters has delivered the first Tiger helicopter retrofitted into the HAD version of the French Army Aviation, after having previously completed its formal acceptance process with the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA). The retrofit from the HAP to the HAD version involves performing over 100 airframe modifications and installing over 1,500 new parts and 250 electrical cables. This retrofit program covers 36 helicopters. Airbus Helicopters has set up a new industrial organization for this Tiger retrofit program, combining personnel from its Military Support Center France and its Tiger serial production Final Assembly Line.

Compared with the previous HAP version, the HAD Tiger benefits from an increased maximum take-off weight (MTOW) and is equipped with two new enhanced MTR 390 E engines and with a new STRIX roof-mounted sight system complete with a laser designator that allows the Hellfire II air-to-ground missile to be fired. The Tiger HAD is Airbus Helicopters’ multi-role attack helicopter which also performs armed reconnaissance, air or ground escort, air-to-air combat, ground firing support, and anti-tank missions in day, night and in adverse conditions. The Tiger attack helicopter has proven its capabilities during operational deployments in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Libya, and Mali. In service with the armed forces of France, Germany, Spain, and Australia.

Airbus Helicopters has recently entered another support agreement in the UK, under follow-on Support to the Royal Air Force Puma 2 fleet. The contract, awarded by the British MOD, is worth an initial £100 million. As part of the company’s support offering, Airbus Helicopters will provide repair and overhaul services in addition to a parts-by-the-hour programme to sustain the Puma-2 fleet. The single-source contract also includes the provision of training to all Puma avionics and mechanical technicians as well as engineering managers. The first phase provides full technical support and logistics until March 2022. with optional extension through 2025. It follows an interim Support Arrangement, that was in place since the first upgraded Puma 2 entered service in 2012. The upgraded Puma 2 fleet recently logged 20,000 flight hours.

Airbus to sustain The RAF Puma 2 helicopters under support agreement awarded by MOD. Photo: Crown Copyright