Tiger UHT helicopter

Airbus Helicopters has handed over the last upgraded Tiger Unterstützungshubschrauber (UHT) support helicopter to the German Army’s 36 Combat Helicopter Regiment for deployment in Afghanistan.

The helicopter was presented during a ceremony at Airbus’s production facility in Donauwörth, Germany, and is scheduled for operation in Afghanistan in support of ground troops, convoy protection and reconnaissance operations.

The delivery completes the three batches of four Tiger UHT helicopters modified to the Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment (ASGARD) configuration through a programme launched by the company and the German Federal Ministry of Defense in late 2011.

The ASGARD conversion included installation of engine sand filters and additional ballistic protection, as well as the incorporation of a mission data recorder and enhanced communication equipment for multinational missions.

"Today’s milestone underscores our ability to develop and implement upgrades that meet specific army requirements."

Airbus Helicopters Germany managing director Wolfgang Schoder said: "The Tiger ASGARD programme is the result of a successful and close cooperation between Airbus Helicopters and the German armed forces.

"Today’s milestone underscores our ability to develop and implement upgrades that meet specific army requirements in highly-demanding environments, such as Afghanistan."

The ASGARD upgrade was carried out at Airbus’ Donauwörth site, which also serves as a home to the final assembly line for Germany’s Tiger UHT support helicopter versions.

The deployment of initial ASGARD configuration Tiger helicopters to Afghanistan was started by the German Armed Forces in December 2012, and the operations began a month later in Mazar-e-Scharif.

The Eurocopter Tiger is a two-seat attack aircraft designed to conduct precise day and night surveillance, fire support, escort, protection, as well as air-to-air and air-to-ground combat missions.

Available in several versions, including hélicoptère d’appui protection (HAP), UHT and armed reconnaissance helicopter (ARH), the helicopters first entered service in 2003.

Image: A German Army ASGARD-upgraded Tiger UHT helicopter in flight. Photo: courtesy of Charles Abarr.

Defence Technology