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French Tiger HAD block 2 qualifies


The HAD block 2 version of the Tiger helicopter for the French army got its final qualification stamp of approval from the DGA procurement agency on Nov. 21, according to a French defense ministry statement issued on Nov. 27.

In the somewhat convoluted approval system for French military equipment this qualification, which came hard on the heels of the certification announced on Nov. 17, marks the end of the development phase of this new version of the Tiger and means the DGA can now receive the series production aircraft.

The French army has two types of Tiger helicopters: a support and escort HAP (hélicoptère appui-protection) equipped with air-to-air Mistral missiles, a 30mm gun and 68mm rockets and a support and destruction HAD (hélicoptère appui-destruction) that has Hellfire air-to-ground missiles in addition to the weaponry of the HAP version. To date 46 Tigers have been delivered to the army, 40 in the HAP version and these will progressively be modified into HAD versions.

This HAD block 2 version has been approved for use aboard ships, notably the BPC Mistral-class and to be carried by the A400M and the C130. Even if the preceding version of the helicopter had already operated from the BPC, additional testing had to be done given that it carries different weapons. Rocket firing precision has also been improved on this version: once the gunner has typed in the target location data, the helicopter's automatic pilot will put the helicopter into the best position to destroy the target and will maintain the aircraft's stability during firing.

The Defense Ministry statement said the HAD will undertake its first operational mission before the end of this year.

The block 1 version of the Tiger HAD. Photo credit: Airbus Helicopters/Anthony Pecchi



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