MADRID, ($1=0.88 Euros) – The Tiger Mk III upgrade that Airbus prepares for the combat helicopter fleets in France, Germany, and Spain will not be the same for all three countries, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing InfoDefensa. Although it was previously known that the improvement will equal the three fleets, in reality, there will be slight differences, since each customer has a different version of the aircraft.
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The executive vice president of the manufacturer, Airbus Helicopters, Mathieu Louvot, has detailed this week the improvements that the Mk III update of the aircraft implies during the traditional annual appearance before the media, which this year has taken place telematically from Munich [Germany].
The planned modernization involves the update of avionics, weapons detection and management systems, a new digital electronic warfare system [EWS], weapons with a greater range and performance, connection with UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], and link of advanced data, among others.
In any case, the corresponding signature to implement these improvements is still pending. And in fact, Germany is considering the possibility of improving its fleet of attack helicopters by acquiring 29 units of the American model Apache AH-64E, from Boeing, which would leave out the Mk III.
In parallel, the plan around the Tiger that the three countries are negotiating foresees that the three versions of the European helicopter [French HADF, German UHT, and Spanish HADE] will end up converging on the common Mk III version for all.
This variant represents a profound modernization of the Tiger. Jane’s has collected a few more details on this planned upgrade, including the mast-mounted electro-optical system; the helmet-mounted sight system; the vision system; aircraft radio systems; data links for manned and unmanned equipment; the integration of new air-to-ground and air-to-air missiles, weapons, and rockets; improved countermeasures equipment; the adoption of a new navigation system synchronized with the European Galileo global positioning system, and an updated avionics package including a new tactical data management system and a battlefield management system.
Assembly in Albacete
Louvot has acknowledged that the improvements planned for the three countries “are not exactly the same”, although, if finally realized, “there will be a very large degree of convergence”, including “many of the systems in common”.
At the moment, the three countries are still trying to implement the modernization of their fleets to the new version of the Tiger MKIII, which is scheduled to be assembled at the Spanish factory in Albacete.
The negotiations are carried out through the Joint Organization for Cooperation in Armament Matters [Occar], responsible for managing the international program. The discussions try to define the project margins, the cost of the Airbus offer, and the development and delivery schedule.
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