More details on the future European Tiger III combat helicopter

While we still don't know whether Berlin will choose to preserve and develop its fleet of Tiger combat helicopters, or to equip itself with American AH-64 Apache, Airbus Helicopters has detailed the improvements that are planned on thee future Tiger III standard, which should allow the aircraft to remain in service until 2035, and the arrival of a possible new European combat helicopter. Thus, this new version will integrate an advanced evolution of the aircraft's mission management, communication and cooperative engagement capabilities, with a redesigned cockpit approaching the Glass Cockpit of new generation aircraft, redundant GPS satellite geolocation systems and Galileo, a next-generation encrypted communication system, probably CONTACT compatible for France, as well as a tactical battlefield data management system, notably allowing the future aircraft to be integrated into the Army's SCORPION bubble.

But the most remarkable development, as far as Army Light Aviation helicopters are concerned, will undoubtedly be the arrival of an optronic mast overhanging the main rotor, allowing the aircraft to observe the battlefields, or even to guide its ammunition, while retaining the protection of the cover offered by relief or human elements. This will be a new generation mast, and not the mast used on the UnterstützungsHubschrauber version Tiger (tiger support helicopter) or UHT. In addition, the device will have a new self-defense suite incorporating a radar and laser detector, a missile fire detector, as well as an MBDA Modernized Sapphire decoy launcher, allowing the device to operate even in contested airspace, and therefore in a High Intensity situation. Finally, the Tiger III will allow the control of drones, a capability now essential for modern engagement.

The UHT version of the Tiger in service within the Bundeswehr already has an optronic mast, because it was designed primarily to operate in the European theater.

On the other hand, the many points of divergence which remain between Paris, Madrid and Berlin reappear in the presentation made by Airbus Helicopters. regarding his new device. Thus, the integration of new missiles is mentioned, without being detailed. For France, the new anti-tank missile should be the result of European cooperation, and potentially be based on an extended range version of the new MMP from MBDA, in service with the French Army. Berlin, for its part, favors the new version of the EuroSpike missile of Israeli design, but assembled in Germany. If the German authorities actually decide to pursue the development of the Tiger, it is therefore very likely that, as for the previous versions, the final deliveries will be differentiated according to the customers, and not standardized.

It remains to be seen, from now on, in which direction the wind will blow across the Rhine. With the new tripartite coalition reached an agreement, the new German Chancellor Olaf Sholz and his government have taken the reins of the country today. We will therefore have to wait several more weeks, or even months, before the new government decides on these arbitrations, especially since the new Minister of Defense, Christine Lambrecht, is a lawyer admittedly experienced, but never had until here exercised a function related to defense issues. On the French side, on the other hand, the modernization of the 67 Tigers of the Army's Light Aviation is eagerly awaited, especially as the devices are used intensively in the Sahel, and the first detachments equipped with armored vehicles from the SCORPION program are also deployed there.

The ALAT Tiger helicopter fleet is in high demand as part of the French intervention in Mali, for escort and fire support missions for airborne and ground troops.

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