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On behalf of the French and Spanish procurement authorities, OCCAR has awarded a contract to Airbus Helicopters for the development, production, and initial in-service support of the TIGER MkIII attack helicopter upgrade programme, Airbus writes in a press release.

The contract covers the upgrade of 42 aircraft for France (with the possibility to add another 25 helicopters) and 18 for Spain. In addition, the contract provides the possibility for Germany to later join the TIGER MkIII programme. The first prototype is scheduled for an inaugural flight in 2025. First delivery to the French DGA will take place in late 2029 followed by a first delivery to Spain in 2030. Development and upgrade work will be conducted in Airbus Helicopters facilities in Albacete (Spain), Marignane (France) and Donauwörth(Germany).

The TIGER MkIII standard configuration will include:

  • the integration of the Safran STRIX NG sights
  • the Thales FlytXavionics suite
  • the TOPOWL DD helmet-mounted sight display
  • an Indra IFF upgrade
  • Thales GNSS
  • Safran’s inertial navigation system

The communication suite will be upgraded with Thales’ CONTACT/SYNAPS radio and data links dedicated to manned/unmanned teaming. Moreover, for Spain Link16 and SATCOM functionalities will be included. The Spanish TIGER MkIII will be equipped with a battlefield management system and countermeasures provided by Indra, whereas the French aircraft will be equipped with a battlefield management system by Atos and countermeasures provided by Thales. The new weapon package for France will include the MBDA MAST-F (Future Tactical Air-to-Surface Missile) and MISTRAL 3 air-to-air missile. For Spain, new capabilities will  include 70mm guided rockets and a new air to ground missile.