(September 12, 2008) -- As part of the development of the HAD (support and destruction helicopter) version of the Tiger, Eurocopter successfully completed a firing campaign using the Spike air-to-ground missile. This campaign was conducted at the El Arenosillo firing range in Spain, which belongs to the Spanish National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA).
Spain is currently one of two customers for the HAD version of the Tiger: the Spanish armed forces have ordered 24 of these aircraft, and France has ordered 40 HAD version Tigers. For air-to-ground missions, the Spanish helicopters will be equipped with the fiber-optic guided Spike missile developed by the Israeli company Rafael.
Seven missiles were fired in El Arenosillo. Five were launched without their main propulsion units, as the sole aim was to validate the helicopter/weapon integration concept and to clear the firing envelope, ensuring that the weapon separated cleanly from the helicopter during firing. This was checked in hover and in forward flight. The other two missiles were able to hit their targets six to eight kilometers away as these infrared guided missiles were equipped with their propulsion units. The first missile was fired in the lock on before launch (LOBL) mode and the second in the lock on after launch (LOAL) mode. Six of the missiles were fired by an all-Eurocopter crew, and the seventh (fired in LOBL launch) by a crew made up of a Eurocopter pilot in the front seat and a Spanish gunner-commander in the rear. All of the missiles were fired successfully.