Eurocopter successfully leads the first firing campaign of the HAD Tiger using the Spike missile
As part of the development of the HAD (support and destruction helicopter) version of the Tiger, Eurocopter successfully completed a firing campaign using the Spike air-to-ground missile. This campaign was conducted at the El Arenosillo firing range in Spain, which belongs to the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA).
Spain is currently one of two customers for the HAD version of the Tiger: the Spanish armed forces have ordered 24 of these aircraft, and France has ordered 40 HAD version Tigers. For air-to-ground missions, the Spanish helicopters will be equipped with the fiber-optic guided Spike missile developed by the Israeli company Rafael.
Seven missiles were fired in El Arenosillo. Five were launched without their main propulsion units, as the sole aim was to validate the helicopter/weapon integration concept and to clear the firing envelope, ensuring that the weapon separated cleanly from the helicopter during firing. This was checked in hover and in forward flight. The other two missiles were able to hit their targets six to eight kilometers away as these infrared guided missiles were equipped with their propulsion units. The first missile was fired in the lock on before launch (LOBL) mode and the second in the lock on after launch (LOAL) mode. Six of the missiles were fired by an all-Eurocopter crew, and the seventh (fired in LOBL launch) by a crew made up of a Eurocopter pilot in the front seat and a Spanish gunner-commander in the rear. All of the missiles were fired successfully.
Developed by Eurocopter, the Tiger is a new generation multi-purpose combat helicopter. To date, 206 Tigers have been ordered in the aircraft’s four main versions. Germany has ordered 80 Tigers in the UHT (support helicopter) version. France has ordered 40 aircraft in the HAP (French combat support helicopter) version plus 40 HAD version Tigers. Spain has ordered 24 Tigers: six HAP and 18 HAD version aircraft. The six HAP Tigers will later be raised to the HAD standard when this version is fully qualified. Australia has ordered 22 ARH (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter) Tigers.
With a maximum takeoff weight of 6.6 metric tons (500 kg greater than previous versions), more powerful engines, and a wider range of weapons, the HAD version of the Tiger is leading the aircraft towards greater flexibility. The development of the HAD version, which performed its maiden flight on the contractually specified date in December 2007, is proceeding according to plan, and Spain will receive its first aircraft from 2011 onwards.
Highly polyvalent, the Tiger can adapt its offensive capabilities to suit the customers’ operational requirements, and the geostrategic environment. The Tiger has set the benchmark for combat helicopters.
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