The French army has taken delivery of the first two upgraded Tiger hélicoptère appui-destruction (HAD) attack helicopters from Airbus Helicopters.
Delivered after qualification by the French General Directorate for Armament, the HAD Block 2 helicopters brings additional enhancements, including improved targeting accuracy for rockets, with the addition of combat external fuel tanks and digital communications for operations in existing digital battlefields.
The combat external fuel tanks addition is expected to provide longer flight times while enabling the full complement of armament to be used, which is an extension of the flight domain in which Spike and Hellfire anti-tank missiles can be fired.
In addition, the helicopters have been ‘navalised,’ facilitating their use from ships and marine environments.
The choppers are scheduled to be operated by GAMSTAT, which is the aero-mobility group belonging to the technical section of the French army, before being assigned to the 1st Army Combat Helicopter Regiment, located at the Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Air Base in Moselle region.
The unit already operates HAD Block 1 attack helicopters, which have been deployed to the Central African Republic.
Apart from six HAD Block 1 helicopters, the French Army also operates 40 hélicoptère d’appui protection (HAP) support and escort configuration variants.
The French Tigers have already proven their capabilities during operational deployments in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Libya and Mali.
Powered by two Turbomeca Rolls-Royce MTR390 turboshaft engines, the Eurocopter Tiger is a two-seat attack aircraft designed to conduct precise day and night surveillance and fire support.
Airbus Helicopters has already delivered more than 110 Tiger helicopters to France, Germany, Spain and Australia for tactical missions worldwide.
Image: The HAD Block 2 Tiger attack helicopter of the French army. Photo: courtesy of Airbus Helicopters / Jerome Deulin.