Decided in 2015, the transition of Tiger HAP helicopters to the “Support / Destruction” standard has arrived halfway

At the end of 2015, the Army Light Aviation [ALAT] had 55 Tiger attack and reconnaissance helicopters, including 40 in HAP version [appui et protection] and 15 upgraded to HAD standard [appui et destruction].

Basically, the HAP version of the Tiger is armed with a 30 mm cannon, 68 mm rockets and four Mistral missiles. The so-called HAD can also carry laser-guided Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles. In addition, she benefits from more powerful propulsion and an improved electronic warfare suite.

The ALAT having to count 67 Tiger in total, after the order of seven additional specimens thanks to the update of the Military programming law 2014-19, it was decided to bring them all to the HAD standard, in order to have a homogeneous fleet. But this construction takes time.

Indeed, the first of the 37 Tiger HAP “retrofitted” to the HAD standard was delivered to ALAT in December 2017. The 19th has just been delivered, five years later. Which means that this program is therefore halfway through.

“The DGA has received and delivered to the Army the 6th Tiger HAP retrofitted in HAD version out of the 6 planned for the year 2022. It is the 19th out of the 37 planned by the renovation program”, said effect indicated the Directorate General of Armaments [DGA]via Twitter, on December 23.

According to the 2023 Finance Law, definitively adopted after recourse to article 49.3 by the government, five more “retrofitted” Tigers will be delivered to ALAT next year. Normally, the last should be given to him in 2026… Eleven years after the decision to launch this program and to entrust it to Airbus Helicopters.

It should be noted that according to the budget opinion issued in October by MP François Cormier-Bouligeon, the “availability of the fleet of reconnaissance and attack helicopters is stabilizing thanks to the increase in the availability of the Tiger”. And to add: “This positive trend is nevertheless mitigated by the evolution of the Gazelle fleet, whose availability is higher but whose number of aircraft is decreasing”.

In a report published in November 2017 by the Senate, the cost of the Tiger program was estimated at 6.75 billion euros “under 2017 conditions”, taking into account the development of the HAP and HAD versions as well as the transition to a park homogeneous.

And it’s not over since this helicopter will soon be brought to the Mk3 standard, following a mid-life renovation. Only, Germany having finally declined its participation in this program [contrairement à l’Espagne], this operation should concern only 42 of the 67 ALAT aircraft. Unless the future LPM 2024-30 decides otherwise.

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