The Tiger Prototype 1 (PT1), first flew on 29 April 1991 and by December 1994 all four prototypes were airborne.
This new generation attack helicopter has been developed jointly by Eurocopter France (Aerospatiale) and Eurocopter Deutschland (MBB). The Tiger is being built in three variants, the PAH-2, HAC and HAP versions to undertake the anti-tank, close support and fighter helicopter roles. The Tiger will form the backbone of the German Heeresflieger anti-tank helicopter fleet (PAH-2) and the French ALAT fleet, undertaking both the antitank (HAC-3) and combat support role (HAP).
The two anti-tank versions (PAH-2/HAC-3) will be almost identical except for some armament, communications and navigation systems. Both versions will be fitted with a mast-mounted sight, nose-mounted thermal imager and helmet-mounted sight/display and can be armed with either 8 x HOT 2/3 or TRIGAT anti-tank missiles, 4 x Stinger or Mistral air-to-air missiles. The HAP escort/attack version is fitted with a roof-mounted STRIX sight and 30mm turret-mounted GIAT AM-30781 cannon, 4 x Mistral air-to-air missiles, 2 x 22 rockets and each stub wing has tip-mounts for additional air-to-air missiles.
The Tiger is powered by two MTU/Turbomeca/Rolls-Royce MTR turboshafts rated at 1284shp and has a maximum speed of 260km/h with an endurance of 2 hr. 50 min. By 1995, all four prototypes were flying, including Prototype 4 (PT4) which first flew on 16 December 1994 in the French ALAT Gerfaut configuration and had a fully active weapon system. The first Tigers should be delivered to the French ALAT by 1997.
P.Allen "The Helicopter", 1996
TYPE: Attack helicopter.
PROGRAMME: France and Germany agreed in 1984 to develop a common combat helicopter; Eurocopter Tiger GmbH formed 18 September 1985 to manage development and manufacture for French and German armies; was not a full member of Eurocopter because it was working on a single government contract; executive authority for programme is DFHB (Deutsch Franzosisches Hubschrauberburo) in Koblenz; procurement agency is German government BWB (Bundesamt fur Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung).
Original 1984 MoU amended 13 November 1987; FSD approved 8 December 1987; main development contract awarded 30 November 1989, when name Tiger (Germany)/Tigre (France) adopted; five development aircraft built, including three unarmed aerodynamic prototypes, used also for core avionics testing (PT1, 2 and 3), one (PT4) in HAP (initially called Gerfaut) configuration and one (PT5) as UHT prototype; PT1 rolled out 4 February 1991; first flight 27 April 1991; fifth prototype flew on 21 February 1996, at which time the first four aircraft had accumulated 1,090 flying hours; further details below; total of 2,869 hours flown by five prototypes up to June 2001. Germany confirmed purchase of full 212 required, 1994, having considered cut to 138, but later reconsidered.
Industrialisation phase brought forward by two years to strengthen export prospects and Franco-German MoU signed 30 June 1995; timetable then was first deliveries in 1999 to France (approximately 10) and for export, but France announced spending moratorium in November 1995, postponing authorisation of further funding commitments until signature of a FFr2.5 billion (DM733.6 million) production investment contract on 20 June 1997. Deliveries then expected in 2001, but further delayed to July 2003 (for HAP; 2011 for НАС) bу May 1996 defence plan, which envisaged procurement of only 25 Tigres in 2000-2002 budgets.
In October 1996, Germany announced a 12-month delay in launching Tiger production because of funding constraints. However, the government planned to recoup lost time by accelerating production when eventually begun, maintaining in-service date (ISD) of 2001 and having 50 delivered by 2006, after which the manufacturing tempo would be reduced. However, by 1999, first UHT delivery planned in December 2002. France indicated in early 1997 that it would be prepared to see a single Tiger production line located at Donauwörth in Germany which, combined with other economies, would reduce French expenditure by FFr13.5 billion, but a second assembly line at Marignane was subsequently confirmed. Production investment agreed June 1997.
On 20 May 1998, France and Germany signed a commitment to order an initial joint batch of 160 Tigers. However, planned late 1998 placing of contracts was delayed by requirement of new German government to conduct a defence review; options included delaying ISD; or reducing numbers; or even cancelling UHT and procuring French HAP version. Production contract was finally signed on 18 June 1999 for the full 160 aircraft; first deliveries in 2002. HAP deliveries to include two in 2003, eight in 2004 and 10 per year in 2005-10; first production aircraft (9826) flew in Germany, 2 August 2002. Production of the first batch of 320 engines (plus 12 spares) began during 2000, and will continue through 2011. June 1999 contract also formalised German contract change from PAH2 to UHT and French change from HAP to HAP-F (Finalise).
Joint team at Marignane is flight testing basic helicopter, updating avionics during trials, and testing HAP variant; similar team at Ottobrünn is qualifying basic avionics, Euromep mission equipment package, and integrating weapons system. Rotor downwash problems resulted in trial forward positioning of horizontal stabiliser; by mid-1994 definitive solution adopted of reversion to original position, but halving area. By January 1998, the design had been frozen, and the development programme was more than 90% complete.
First export order for Tiger confirmed 14 August 2001, when Australia announced selection to meet AIR 87 requirement. MoU on co-operation and exchange of information, to lead to production and delivery, signed by Eurocopter and Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation on 12 July 2002.
CURRENT VERSIONS (general): Original partners require three versions in two basic configurations with about 80% commonality: U-Tiger is basis of the UHT and НАС, both with mast-mounted sight and Trigat missiles; HCP (Helicoptere de Combat Polyvalent) is basis of the HAP (roof sight and turreted gun). Other variants proposed to meet export requirements.
Tigre HAP: Helicoptere d'Appui et de Protection; name Gerfaut dropped late 1993; escort and fire support version for French Army; armed with 30mm Giat AM-30781 automatic cannon in undernose turret, with 150 to 450 rounds of ammunition; four Mistral air-to-air missiles and two pods each with twenty-two 68mm unguided TDA rockets delivering armour-piercing darts, mounted on stub-wmgs, or 12-round rocket pod instead of each pair of Mistrals, making total of 68 rockets; roof-mounted sight, with TV, FLIR, laser range-finder and direct view optics sensors; image intensifiers integrated, in helmets; and extended self-defence system. НAР configuration was approved by late 1998, permitting туре qualification in December 2002. Deliveries from Marignane in 2003; final aircraft due in 2010.
UHT: Unterstutzangshubschrauber Tiger (previously designated UHU); German Army multirole 'utility' or muttirole anti-tank and fire-support helicopter for delivery from 2002; replaces dedicated anti-tank PAH-2 Tiger; type qualification due in December 2002; final assembly at Donauwörth. Underwing pylons for HOT 3 or (from 2006) Trigat missiles, Stinger self-defence missiles, unguided rockets, gun pod and extended self-defence system; mast-mounted TV/FLIR/laser ranger sight for gunner; nose-mounted FLIR for piloting. A mid-life upgrade for the UHT may integrate the Mauser 30mm gun in a chin turret which traverses ±140° in azimuth and from +20 to -45° in elevation.
Tigre НАС: Helicoptere Anti-Char; anti-tank variant for French Army; final assembly at Donauwörth. Type qualification due in third quarter of 2011; same weapon options (except Mistral AAM in place of Stinger), mast-mounted sight and pilot FLIR system as UHT. A mid-life upgrade to the HCP could see addition of a mast-mounted automatic air surveillance and warning system, in the form of DAV pulse Doppler radar, together with HUMS and an IR jammer.
Export: A basic export version combining features of French and German versions; offered (unsuccessfully) to UK and Netherlands.
ARH Tiger (HCP): Hybrid Tiger variant to meet Australian Army Air 87 requirement. Based on French HAP, with undernose Giat 30-781 30mm cannon, roof-mounted sight and provision for underwing rocket pods, but with added anti-tank capability, initially with HOT missile then (from 2006) with Trigat AC3G. Australia also requires integration of the AGM-114 Hellfire ATM. Maximum mission weight of 6,100 to 6,300kg. A$1,300 million (US$674 million) contract for 22 signed 21 December 2001. First four from European production; remaining 18 to be assembled in Brisbane, beginning April 2003. First European deliveries (two) due December 2004; Australian-built deliveries between July 2005 and April 2008.
HCP Tiger (HCP): Export version based on French Army HAP with the same undernose gun turret and roof-mounted sight, HOT 3 and Trigat missiles; Hellfire optional. Strix roof sight (direct view optics optional) and additional laser designator plus video signal interfacing for Trigat operation. Either Mistral or Stinger air-to-air missiles. A mid-life upgrade to the HCP could see addition of a DAV mast-mounted air surveillance radar (pulse Doppler type) or a mast-mounted MMW radar for automatic ground and air surveillance. No gun pod option.
Tigre HAD: Helicoptere d'Appui-Destruction. Multirole version; development cost estimated as €152 million (2002). Offered to Spain. Uprated engines, roof sight for Trigat ATMs.
Tiger T800: LHTEC T800 or CTS800 engines proposed as an engine option for the Tiger. Turkey is sales prospect, as Army has reservations about growth potential of MTR390.
CURRENT VERSIONS (specific): PT1/F-ZWWW: Aerodynamic prototype; basic avionics; first flight 27 April 1991. Successively fitted with aerodynamic mockups of mast-mounted and roof-mounted sights, nose-mounted gun and weapon containers. Relegated to ground fatigue testing and static display in early 1996 on completion of flight programme. Flown 502 hours.
PT2/F-ZWWY: HAP aerodynamic configuration; full core avionics; rolled out 9 November 1992; first flight 22 April 1993. Used for radar cross-section and detectability tests. Retrofit with HAP systems completed in November 1996; redesigned PT2R. Mistral launch trials at Landes ranges 14/15 December 1998; Technical assessment by French Army at Valence between 17 May and 3 June 1999; rocket qualification, June 1999. Used for HAP version qualification (redesignated PT2R2) at Landes test centre between 4 April and 12 May 2000. Redesignated PT2X in 2001 to serve as multimission demonstrator, adding LFK/ SAGEM sighting system for HOT 3 anti-tank missiles in addition to original Mistral missiles and rockets. Deck landing trials, May 2002, aboard FS Siroco, an amphibious landing ship.
PT3/9823: Full core avionics (including navigation and autopilot); first flight (as F-ZWWT) 19 November 1993. Retrofit with UHT systems began in February 1997; redesignated PT3R; Euromep С (see Avionics) from late 1997. ПОТ launches with mast sight at extreme range in night and smoke conditions, June 1999; hot weather trials at Bateen AB in Abu Dhabi September 1999. Moved back to France for НАС development,
PT4/F-ZWWU: HAP aerodynamic configuration and avionics (including roof sight, HUD and Topowl helmet sight; first Tiger with live weapons system); first flight 15 December 1994. Sighting system trials early 1995; Giat cannon trials (15 ground-based tests) completed at Toulon, April 1995; full testing began at CEV Cazaux, 21 September 1995 and, by late November, had demonstrated airborne cannon firing and launch of Mistral AAM (without seeker); by 1 January 1997 had fired eight Mistrals, 3,000 cannon rounds and 50 rockets; 1997 trials included two more Mistrals, rockets and tests of gun controls. Painted in three-tone disruptive camouflage. Winter trials in Sweden, early 1997 with skid/skis landing gear. Flown 296 hours to 1 December 1997; crashed during night low-level evaluation by Australian Army 17 February 1998.
PT5/9825: Full UHT avionics; first flight 21 February 1996. Undertook German Army weapon trials (Stinger, HOT 2 and 12.7mm podded gun) in 1997 including the firing of six HOT 2s using Euromep Osiris mast-mounted sight. Retrofitted as PT5R with production-standard weapon system; first flight 8 October 1999.
PT6 and PT7: Static test airframes for fatigue and crash-resistance trials.
PS1/F-ZVLJ: Рте-series HAP built at Marignane on production tooling; laid down in third quarter of 1998; first flight 21 December 2000. Tasks include validation of production methods and planned production configuration.
UHT S01/9826: First true production aircraft; planned to fly on 1 March 2002, but not rolled out until 22 March; first flight 2 August 2002; used for six-month techeval/opeval trials, replacing PT5R.
HAP S01: First production French Tiger, first flight (F-ZKDB) 26 March 2003; delivery to French Army in July 2003.
CUSTOMERS: Original requirement was for 427 (France 75 HАР and 140 НАС, Germany 212 PAH-2); UHU (later UHT) version substituted for PAH-2s in 1993; French order amended by 1994 to 115 HAP and 100 НАС but may be reduced to overall total of 180; in mid-2001 French Army expressed preference for multirole Helicoptere d'Appui-Destructiou (HAD) version in place of two subvariants now on order. Germany committed to 212, of which 112 to be funded between 2001 and 2009; initial commitment of 20 May 1998 confirmed 80 each by France (70 HAP, 10 НАС) and Germany (80 UHT), as agreed by Franco-German Security Council on 9 December 1996. By 2002, official German sources suggesting full requirement only 110 and Eurocopter resigned to total of 240 between two launch partners. Germany's Tigers are required to equip four 48-aircraft regiments, each supporting an Army division, first being established in 2009-11. A joint training school at le Luc is being established as the Ecole Franco-Allemand, or EFA with a Thomson Training and Simulation/STN Atlas aircrew training system, including six-axis motion simulators and wide-angle visual systems. Training course lasts 28 weeks for a crew chief, or 19 weeks for a pilot. Fleet of 14 German and 14 French Tigers will be assigned by 2006, with eleven simulators. In October 2000 there were reports that the German MoD was considering reducing its Tiger buy to 100 helicopters.
Australia selected Tiger for AIR 87 requirement on 14 August 2001; contract signed 21 December 2001 for 22 helicopters. Interest shown by Spain in 25 Tigers to be delivered from 2010; in early 2002, contract discussions reached impasse over R&D funding for specific Spanish multirole HAD variant. Exports of 200 Tigers thought possible.
COSTS: Tiger current development cost, shared equally by France and Germany, repotted DM2.2 billion. Production tooling cost FFr2.6 billion (US$500 million) (1996). Unit cost (1996) for UH estimated as US$ 11 million, including launchers and all government-furnished equipment. Initial batch of 160 assigned FFr21.5 billion, of which FFr13 billion for 80 German helicopters and FFr8.5 billion for 80 French (1998). Australian programme unit cost US$30.6 million (2001).
DESIGN FEATURES: Robust, tandem-seat design with pylon-mounted armament, representing current combat helicopter style. FEL (fibre elastomer) main rotor designed for simplicity, manoeuvrability and damage tolerance; has infinite life except for inspection of elastomeric elements at more than 2,500-hour intervals; hub consists of titanium centrepiece (including duct for mast-mounted sight) with composites starplates bolted above and below; flap and lead/lag motions of blades allowed by elastic bending of neck region and pitch change by elastic part of elastomeric bearings; lead/lag damping by solid-state viscoelastic damper struts faired into trailing-edge of each blade root; equivalent flapping hinge offset of 10.5% gives high control power; SARIB passive vibration damping system between transmission and airframe; three-blade Spheriflex tail rotor has composites blades with fork roots; built-in ram air engine exhaust suppressors.
FLYING CONTROLS: Fully powered hydraulic flying controls by SAMM/Liebherr; Labinal/Electrometal servo trim; horizontal tail mounted beneath tail rotor; autopilot is part of basic avionics system.
STRUCTURE: 80% CFRP, block and sandwich and Kevlar sandwich; 6% titanium and 11% aluminium; airframe structure protected against lightning and EMP by embedded copper/bronze grid and copper bonding foil; stub-wings of aluminium spars with CFRP ribs and skins; titanium engine deck may be replaced by GFRP; airframe tolerates crash impacts at 10.5m/s and meets MIL-STD-1290 crashworthiness standards; titanium main rotor hub centrepiece and tail rotor Spheriflcx integral hub/mast; blade spars filament-wound; GFRP, CFRP skins and subsidiary spars and foam filling. French plants building transmission, tail rotor, centre-fuselage (including engine installation), aerodynamics, fuel and electrical systems, weight control, maintainability, reliability and survivability; Eurocopter Deutschland responsible for main rotor, flight control and hydraulic systems, front and rear fuselage (including cockpits), prototype assembly, flight characteristics and performance, stress and vibration testing and simulation.
LANDING GEAR: Tail wheel type, non-retractable, with single wheel on each unit. Designed to absorb impacts of up to 6m/s. Main gear by Messier-Bugatti, tail gear by Liebherr Aerotechnik.
POWER PLANT: TWO MTU/Rolls-Royce/Turbomeca MTR 390 modular turboshaft engines mounted side by side above centre-fuselage, divided by armour plate 'keel' (engine first flown in Panther testbed 14 February 1991); power ratings are maximum T-O 958kW, super emergency 1,160kW, maximum continuous 873kW. LHTEC has proposed the T800-801 as a potential alternative power plant for export variants of the Tiger. Self-sealing crashworthy fuel tanks, with explosion suppression and with non-return valves, which minimise leakage in a crash; total capacity 1,360 litres. Provision for two external tanks, one on each inboard pylon, each of approximately 350 litres capacity. Gearbox has specified 30 minutes' dry running capability (demonstrated 65 minutes, November 1994).
ACCOMMODATION: Crew of two in tandem, with pilot in front and weapons system operator at rear; full dual controls; both crew members can perform all tasks and weapon operation except that anti-tank missile firing only available to gunner. Armoured, impact-absorbing seats; stepped cockpits, with flat-plate windscreens and slightly curved non-glint transparencies.
SYSTEMS: Redundant hydraulic, electrical and fuel systems. Primary power generation by two 20kVA alternators; DC power generation by two 300A 28V transformer/rectifiers and two 23Ah Ni/Cd batteries.
Dual redundant AFCS provides four-axis command and stability augmentation. Basic AFCS modes: attitude hold, heading hold. Higher AFCS modes: Heading/acquire/hold, barometric altitude capture/hold, altitude acquire, airspeed hold, vertical speed acquire/hold, nav coupling, radar height hold. Doppler hover hold, line of sight acquisition/ hold. Other AFCS functions: gun recoil force compensation, axis decoupling and tactical mode (follow-up trim on override of break-out forces).
AVIONICS: Basic or core avionics common to all three versions include bus/display system, com radio (French and German systems vary), autonomous nav system and radio/DoppIer navaids, Thales TSC 2000 IFF Mk 12, NH 90-based ECM suite (including laser warning) and AFCS, all connected to and controlled through redundant MIL-STD-1553B data highway. Flight: Navigation system, by Thales, Teldix and EADS, is fully redundant; system contains two Thales PIXYZ three-axis ring laser gyro units, two air data computers, two magnetic sensors, one Teldix/BAE Canada CMA 2012 Doppler radar, a radio altimeter and GPS providing data to Dornier EuroGrid digital map system; these sensors also provide signals for flight control, information display and guidance; integrated duplex AFCS by Thales and Nord Micro; AFCS computers produced by Thales, VDO-Luft and Litef. Instrumentation: Colour liquid crystal flight displays showing symbology and imagery (two per cockpit for flight and weapon/systems information) by Thales and VDO-Luft; each crewman has central control/display unit for inputting all radio, electronic systems and navigation selections; digital map display system by Dormer and VDO-Luft (incorporating NH 90’s Eurogrid map generation system); engine and systems data are fed into the databus for in-flight indication find subsequent maintenance analysis. BAE Systems Knighthelm fully integrated day and night helmet ordered for German Tigers; French Tigres have similar Thales Topowl helmet-mounted sights, with integrated night vision (image intensifiers), FLIR, video and synthetic raster symbology. Mission: Euromep (European mission equipment package) includes SATEL Condor 2 pilot vision subsystem (PVS), air-to-air subsystem (Stinger or Mistral), mast-mounted sight and missile subsystem and Euromep management system all connected to separate MIL-STD-1553B data highway. Euromep Standard В avionics first flew February 1995 (PT5); Standard С testing began in late 1997 (PT3R). PVS has 40x30° instantaneous field of view (with ±110 x 35° total field of view) thermal imaging sensor steered by helmet position detector giving both crewmen day/night/bad weather vision, flight symbology and air-to-air aiming in helmet-mounted display; mast-mounted sight, gunner sight electronics and gunner's head-in target acquisition display and ATGW 3 subsystem connected by separate data highway; HOT 3 missile system also available. Thales armament control panel and fire-control computer.
ARMAMENT: Tiger has four outboard weapon stations for typical four HOT, four Tngat, two Mistral or Stinger launchers or pods of 12 or 22 rockets, optional 12.7mm gun pod with 250 rounds or auxiliary fuel tank. HCP (HAP) options all include one 30mm Giat AM-30781 automatic cannon with up to 450 rounds (traversing from +33 to -30° in elevation and through ±90° in azimuth). Possible weapon configurations include (a) HAP: 44 rockets on outer stations, or 24 rockets and four Mistrals, or mix of launchers, (b) НАС: eight maximum HOT or eight Trigat or HOT/Trigat mix on inner stations, plus four Mistrals on outer stations, (с) UHT: 44 rockets, eight HOT, eight Trigat or two gun pods on inner stations; four Stingers on outer stations. Combination of auxiliary fuel tank and weapon launcher (rocket, HOT, Trigat, gun pod) on inner stations for extended-range missions is possible, (d) HCP (Export): nose-mounted 30mm gun with 450 rounds, plus all stores combinations of UHT and HAP (except 12.7mm gun pods). Hellftre ATM on Australian aircraft.
Jane's All the World's Aircraft, 2004-2005
- The Tiger development programme is reported to have cost, to date, more than US$1.4 billion.
- Initial planning calls for the Bundeswehr to acquire over 200 PAH-2 Tigres.
- France was to order 75 HAP Gerfauts and 140 HAC Tigres, but may reduce that total.
- Tiger is 80% manufactured from composite materials.
- The plastic, carbon-fibre and Kevlar fuselage is protected from lightning by an embedded copper-bronze grid.
- Tiger will be able to destroy any tank likely to appear in the next decade.