Spain’s Tiger MKIII choppers to get indigenous crypto-equipment

MADRID, SPAIN — The Spanish company Tecnobit-Grupo Oesia has signed a contract with the Ministry of Defense to supply future Tigre MKIII attack helicopters to the Army Air Mobile Forces [Famet] with cryptological equipment worth more than four million euros.

Airbus Offers Its Tiger Helicopter to Australian Air Force
Photo credit: Airbus

This equipment allows, for example, encryption, authentication, and key generation for secure communications between the helicopters in this case, and other units. The contract provides for the purchase and integration of cryptographic equipment that meets both national and NATO standards.

The formalization of the contract, led by the General Directorate of Armaments and Materiel [DGAM], took place in mid-December. Its duration is five years, until the end of 2027, according to the announcement published on the State Contracting Platform, which Infodefense.com has access to. The exact budget is 4,027,232 euros including taxes.

Tiger upgrade

The Tigre MK III is a bilateral program between Spain and France to modernize their respective fleets of Tigre helicopters to extend their useful lives from 20 to 40 years and increase their capabilities. The modernization consists of improving and renewing the systems and subsystems, avionics architecture, operational equipment, and armament capabilities of the current fleet of helicopters of this model.

Spain's Tiger MKIII choppers to get indigenous crypto-equipment
Photo credit: Spanish Army

Spain will invest €1.2 billion in this program which will update the fleet of 18 Tigre HAD to the new version. All Tigre helicopters of the new version – both Spanish and French – will be assembled at the Airbus Helicopters Spain plant in Albacete. In the Spanish case, the delivery of 18 Tigre MK III will take place between 2030 and 2034 to align the Army’s Force 2035 objective with the convenience of taking advantage of the entire life cycle of the Tigre HAD, as announced by the Ministry of the defense.

Spanish HAP Tiger prototype

The prototype of the new helicopter is expected to make its first flight in 2025. This first Tiger MKIII will be built based on one of the six Tigers of the HAP version released by the Army Air Mobile Force [Famet]. This fleet remains stored in a hangar at the Coronel Sánchez Bilbao de Almagro base in Ciudad Real.

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