PARIS — A European arms procurement agency has chosen Airbus Helicopters to conduct de-risking studies for the Tiger attack helicopter’s upgrade to the MK 3 standard, the company said.
“OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation) has commissioned Airbus Helicopters, on behalf of the French, German and Spanish armament agencies DGA, BAAINBw and DGAM, to perform de-risking studies aimed at providing the Tiger with next-generation battlefield capabilities,” the company said Sept. 27.
The studies will help in development and retrofit preparation of avionics and mission and weapon systems for the Tiger, the company said. Electronics specialist Thales and missile-builder MBDA will take part in the studies.
“We are proud to be preparing the future of the Tiger as it represents a major program for the European defense cooperation initiative,” said Bruno Even, CEO of Airbus Helicopters.
French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said she is trying to persuade her German counterpart to opt for the same missile as France for the Tiger, rather than make its own order for the the Rafael Spike missile.
The de-risking studies may consider various options, such as Spike, Brimstone and MMP missiles, and will note the changes that might be required, such as fitting an antenna for radio data link to deliver pictures to the cockpit right up to impact, an industry executive said.
The French Army is drawing up requirements for a future tactical air-to-surface missile, dubbed MAST-F, which would arm the upgraded Tigers.
Rafael has pitched its extended-range Spike ER2 missile to Germany for the Tiger, hoping Berlin will follow the flight path of Spain, which arms its Tiger helicopters with the Israeli weapon.