The European consortium, comprising Airbus Helicopters, Thales and MDBA, has been selected to conduct a de-risking study for the mid-life upgrade (MLU) of the Tiger attack helicopter to the Mk 3 standard.

The new de-risking contract has been awarded by the European Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) on behalf of three armament agencies.

The agencies include France’s Direction générale de l’armement (DGA), Germany’s Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) and the Directorate-General for Armament and Material (DGAM) of Spain.

Under the deal, the three nations will work in collaboration for the development of new features for the Tiger helicopter.

In addition, the countries will join forces to identify the innovations required to improve the survivability of the aircraft and ensure its full operational capability beyond 2040.

“This contract is another step forward for Europe’s defence community and the consolidation of our industry.”

The upgrade work on Tiger will provide the French, German and Spain armed forces with a modernised attack helicopter fleet that is fully prepared to address new and emerging threats.

Thales Helicopter Avionics activities vice-president Christian Bardot said: “This contract is another step forward for Europe’s defence community and the consolidation of our industry.

“It is a further endorsement of our technological excellence, our technical expertise in Tiger systems, and the benefits of constructive cooperation within the European industry, and with Airbus Helicopters in particular.”

To date, a total of 178 Tiger attack helicopters have been delivered to France, Germany, Spain and Australia.

Manufactured by Airbus Helicopters, the Tiger aircraft is a multi-role attack helicopter that has been designed specifically to conduct different operations such as armed reconnaissance, air or ground escort, air-to-air combat, ground fire support, destruction and anti-tank warfare.

The helicopter is capable of carrying out its range of missions during the day and night and in adverse weather conditions.