New air-to-surface missile for the French attacking Tiger helicopters

PARIS, (BM) – France is launching a procedure to develop a new air-to-surface missile [MAST-F – future tactical air-to-surface missile – ed.] for its attacking Tiger helicopters, the French Minister of Defense announced, learned

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The contractor of the project will be the French company MBDA. The company actually offered a ready-made solution that would serve as the basis for the future missile. It is a high-class air-to-surface missile with a large range of impact and action. According to sources from the French Ministry of Defense, this is the MHT/MLP model, which according to initial information has easy modular integration, ie. this missile can be easily and quickly put into operation in a number of aircraft.

So far, it is known that the French Ministry wants to reduce the weight of existing air-to-surface missiles by at least about 20 percent, thus saving a weight of an additional 100 kg, and at the same time the helicopter will maintain the maximum volume of missiles that can be transported and used in combat conditions. Military experts say that the reduced weight that will be achieved thanks to the new missile will allow the helicopter to fly more, as well as a longer period of idle in the area of ​​a specific military conflict, thanks to the possibility of using more fuel from current capabilities.

The manufacturer of MHT/MLP claims in officially disclosed characteristics that the missile has a range of up to 8 kilometers and can be launched from a stationary platform, not only from a helicopter. Its astonishing power destroys various targets such as bunkers, buildings, fortifications, even tanks and other types of armored vehicles. The missile has an integrated optical system and can operate even at night, continuously sending data to the pilots of the helicopter, as well as to other places that are pre-set before its launch. The rocket additionally has an infrared optical system.

“Flexibility, operational flexibility is the key word when using this type of missile, and this flexibility allows to minimize the risks of failing to hit the target,” said the CEO of the French company, Mr. Eric Beranger.

Moreover, the MHT / MLP missile could become a catalyst for the Fern defense industry, as its development and production will take at least ten years. According to military and economic experts, there could be a time when the French military industry will create an additional 350 jobs a year due to the production of the missile. French experts even claim that the production of this type of missile could help build an industrial technology base in France.

The Tiger is a Franco-German attack helicopter from Airbus Helicopters. Originally it was called anti-tank helicopter 2 (PAH-2) in Germany, but after its introduction the Bundeswehr used it as the Tiger Support Helicopter (UHT). In October 2013, the Army Development Office officially designated the Tiger Combat Helicopter (KHT).

It can be air-loaded with the Airbus A400M transport aircraft. The tiger’s engine is being built by the MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce GmbH (MTR) consortium in Hallbergmoos near Munich. The final assembly of the helicopter takes place in Donauwörth, Marignane, Albacete and Australia.

Read more: French Mirage fighters and UAVs took part in anti-terrorist operation in Mali

French air-to-air missile with a warhead was sent as civilian mail to Florida

Earlier this year we reported that a French Matra 530 air-to-air missile has been found at the Lakeland Linder civil airport in Florida. It has not yet been disclosed how it was possible that the actual missile with a warhead could have been sent as a civil shipment to a civil airport to a private company.

According to the information provided by the American media, a French Matra 530 air-to-air missile was found in one of the parcels at the civilian Lakeland Linder airport in Florida. The 6th EOD team from the base was immediately sent to the find. MacDill aviation in Tampa.

So far it is known that the Matra 530 airborne rocket was sent to the American private company Draken International. The company previously won an ADAIR (Adversary Air) contract, related primarily to the provision of fighter planes for the US Air Force, adapted to act as adversaries in mock air combat.

In fact, it was a team of specialists at Draken International that detected “an object with suspicious signs indicating it may be explosive” in one of the shipments. This was indicated by red and yellow stripes painted on the container, which normally means that the missile inside has both an explosive warhead and a rocket engine.

However, the Americans did not disclose whether the contents of the parcel were as described. However, an alarm was immediately raised and the entire south-eastern side of the airport was evacuated for several hours – until the arrival of the EOD team from Tampa.

So far, Draken has taken full responsibility for the incident. The official statement stated that “by observing the safety rules for explosives consisting in exposing a minimum number of people to a potential explosion hazard for a minimum period of time, we decided to evacuate the facility, inform our local tenants and contact the appropriate authorities as soon as possible. The authorities reacted quickly, assessed the situation and followed proven protocols. Draken International takes its role seriously in all the communities in which we operate and have years of operational procedures to ensure that we operate safely and reliably every day.

As a reminder, the Draken International company has about a hundred tactical combat aircraft in its stock, largely modernized to a level close to the fourth generation. Most of them are stationed on a daily basis in the southern part of Lakeland Linder regional airport in Lakeland, Florida.

Read more: Top 5 best military attack helicopters in service in the world


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