Airbus Helicopters expects to launch a Tiger “Mark III” upgrade program with France, Germany and Spain by the end of 2020, ushering in the next evolution of the multi-role attack helicopter.
Company CEO Bruno Even called the Mark III program a “key milestone” in extending the life of the aircraft, currently in service with France, Germany, Spain and Australia, to beyond 2040.
Airbus has been working closely with the three European customers on the composition of the Mark III upgrade, which will include new avionics, mission and weapon systems.
“There are close technical discussions, and the objective is to converge [on the configuration] by the end of the year,” he said during a media conference call.
Even added that “depending on the customer, there could be a slight difference,” in each nation’s aircraft, but that the core of the upgrade would be the same.
“In addition to this extension of the life of the program, it will for sure bring additional capabilities,” he said.
The Tiger was first deployed by the French Army in Afghanistan in 2009, and Airbus Helicopter has now delivered over 180 of the type.
In other Airbus Helicopters military news, the company is hoping to complete a set of feasibility studies for the military version of the H160 for the French armed forces by the end of 2020/early 2021.
The H160M, also called the Guépard (Cheetah), has been selected for the French joint light helicopter program, which will see the type fulfill a range of roles for the French army, navy and air force, replacing hundreds of medium and light helicopters. First deliveries are due in 2026.