The Tiger/Tigre is a new attack helicopter manufactured by the Eurocopter Group, the global manufacturing and support company formed in 1992 from the merger of Aerospatiale of France and DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG or DASA of Germany. The advanced multi-role battlefield helicopter is known as Tiger in Germany and Tigre in France and Spain but it is also designated EC 665 or PAH-2.
The Tiger/Tigre attack helicopter was developed following a German and French governments requirement for a new helicopter capable of taking on both the tank destroyer role as well as ground support and reconnaissance role. Work started in 1987 and in April 1991 the first prototype took to the skies. In March 2002 serial production of the Eurocopter Tiger started and one year later the first French Army Tiger flew for the first time.
The Eurocopter Tiger has a conventional gunship configuration. The two members of the crew sit in tandem. Unlike other tandem two seat helicopters, the Tiger pilot sits in the front seat and the gunner sits in the back seat. As a consequence, the seats are offset to opposite sides of the centerline to improve the view forward for the gunner in the back. 80% of the airframe has been constructed of composite materials to reduce the weight. The frames and beams have been fabricated from Kevlar and carbon laminates. Panels are composed of Nomex honeycomb material with carbon and Kevlar skins. 11% of the frame is aluminium and 6% titanium. The rotors are made from fiber-plastic able to withstand combat damage and bird strikes. Protection against lightning and EMP is ensured by embedded copper/bronze grid and copper bonding foil.
The Electronic Warfare Suit of the Tiger includes a radar warning receiver, laser warner, MILDS missile launch detector developed by EADS DE and SAPHIR-M chaff / flare dispenser from MBDA connected to the central processing unit from Thales. The Eurocopter Tiger has four main variants :
Eurocopter Tiger HAP (Helicoptere d’Appui Protection) – this is the close protection variant of the Tiger built for the French Army. The Tiger HAP is fitted with a 30 mm gun turret and 66 unguided SNEB rockets or Mistral air-to-air missiles.
Eurocopter Tiger UHT (Unterstützungshubschrauber) – support helicopter with anti-tank missiles and no gn turret. The UHT has a mast mounted sight and if needed can be equipped with a 12.7 mm gunpod. The Tiger UHT is a Tiger variant built for the German Army.
Eurocopter Tiger ARH – armed reconnaissance helicopter ordered by the Australian Army, a modified and upgraded version of the Tiger HAP with upgraded MTR390 engines as well as a laser designator incorporated in the Strix sight for the firing of Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles.
Eurocopter Tiger HAD (Hélicoptère d’Appui Destruction) – identical with the Tiger HAP but with 14% more engine power. The Spanish Army chose this variant to enter service in 2008.
The Eurocopter Tiger has a unit cost between 35 and 48 million USD depending on the number of variants built and of course the variant. In comparison to the Longbow Apache’s pricetag of 50 million USD, the Eurocopter Tiger is a less expensive helicopter that has the virtues of the American rival.
80 Tiger UHT will enter service with the Bundeswehr (German Army), another 40 Tiger HAP and 40 Tiger HAD will enter service with the French Army, 24 Tiger HAD were ordered by the Spanish Army and 22 Tiger ARH by the Australian Army.
Eurocopter Tiger Specifications
Pilot front seat
Gunner back seat
Length 14.08 m fuselage (46 ft 2 in)
Rotor diameter 13.00 m (42 ft 8 in)
Height 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
Disc area 133 m² (1,430 ft²)3
Empty weight 3,060 kg (6,750 lb)
Max takeoff weight 6,000 kg (13,000 lb)
Internal fuel capacity 1,080 kg (2,380 lb)
2× Rolls-Royce/Turboméca/MTU MTR390 turboshafts, 873 kW (1,170 shp) each
Maximum speed 280 km/h (151 knots, 175 mph)
Cruise speed 230 km/h (124, 145 mph)
Range 800 km (430 nm, 500 mi) combat
Ferry range 1,300 km (700 nm, 800 mi)
Service ceiling 4,000 m (13,000 ft)
Rate of climb 10.7 m/s (2,105 ft/min)
Mission Endurance 2 hours 50 minutes
Maximum Endurance, Internal Fuel 3 hours 25 minutes
Agility 40º angle of yaw after first second
1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GIAT 30 cannon in chin turret (HAP, HAD, ARH)
1× 12.7 mm (0.50 in) or 20 mm (0.787 in) gun in pod (UHT)
Rockets Pods of
19× 70 mm (2.76 in) SNEB (HAD)
19× 70 mm Hydra (UHT, ARH)
22× 68 mm (2.68 in) SNEB (HAP)
7× 70 mm SNEB or unguided rockets (HAD)
8× PARS 3 LR and/or HOT3 (UHT)
8× Rafael Spike-ER (Spanish HAD)
8× AGM-114 Hellfire anti-tank missiles (ARH, French HAD)
4× AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missiles (UHT, ARH)
4× Mistral air-to-air missiles (HAP, HAD)
Eurocopter Group Tiger video
Eurocopter Tiger aerobatic maneuvers
Australian Army Eurocopter Tiger
Another great Tiger video