The first production Tiger in the HAD attack configuration was delivered today by manufacturer Eurocopter to the French army which will test it for several months in Valence, southern France.
The HAD version looks identical to the battle-proven HAP version and it would take a very sharp eye to notice the small IFF (identification friend or foe) antenna on the tail which differentiates the two externally. You can just make it out on this photo.
The HAD does however have differences less immediately visible: more powerful engines, a different target designator, improved ballistic protection, an evolved electronic warfare suite and different weapons.
The HAD Tiger is equipped with two enhanced MTR-E 390 turboshaft engines that provide 14% more power, enabling the maximum takeoff weight of the rotor-wing aircraft to rise from 6.1 tons to 6.6 tons.
The roof-mounted STRIX laser target designator provides increased precision for the Hellfire air-to-ground missiles which equip this version. The Spanish HAD Tiger is identical except that Spain has opted to arm its 24 helicopters (which includes six Tiger HAP support and escort versions retrofitted for fire support and attack missions) with the Israeli Spike missile.
France has ordered 40 HAD Tigers of which six are expected to be delivered this year. The next two to be delivered will be for the Franco-German Tiger school at Cannet-des-Maure in southern France.
The HAD Tiger was certified on January 14 this year and received its qualification from the French DGA procurement agency on April 10 after 2,100 flight test hours.