The initial HAD/E Tiger assembled in Eurocopter Spain performs its 1st flight
Eurocopter’s Tiger combat helicopter program has reached an important new milestone with the maiden flight yesterday of the initial Tiger HAD/E variant assembled at Eurocopter's Spanish facilities in Albacete, Spain.
This is an important achievement for both the Tiger program and for Eurocopter Spain,” said Juan Luis Cordero, the Eurocopter Tiger program manager in Spain. “The assembly of this helicopter was made possible thanks to a significant investment in both industrial and human resources and also to the close coordination with other entities in the Group.”
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The milestone helicopter assembled in Albacete – designated HAD/E-5002 – will be the first unit to enter service with the Fuerzas Aeromóviles del Ejército de Tierra (FAMET) Spanish Army helicopter unit, with delivery planned by the end of 2013. It follows the first prototype (HAD/E-5001) – assembled at Eurocopter’s Marignane, France facilities – which has been performing the certification and qualification flight campaign in Spain since 2010.
The helicopter will significantly reinforce the six French-assembled Tiger HAP/E variants currently operated by the Spanish Army – including missions in Afghanistan with these rotorcraft.
The Tiger program represents an important step in the multinational cooperation between the defense ministries of France, Germany and Spain, as well as industry stakeholders. The Tiger industrial participation plan allowed Spanish companies, under leadership of Eurocopter Spain, to participate in the complete helicopter lifecycle – from design and manufacture, flight tests and certification, to final assembly and integral logistics support.
Furthermore, the Eurocopter Spain factory in Albacete is the only manufacturing plant for the Tiger helicopter’s rear fuselage section.
Other Spanish organizations involved in the program included ITP – part of the MTRI consortium – which is participating in the design and production of the upgraded engines for the Spanish Tiger HAD/E version. In addition, companies such as Indra, Amper, ELIMCO, Aernnova, TECHNOBIT, Desarrollos Mecánicos de Precisión (DMP), Sacesa, and Celéstica, were involved primarily on component, systems and equipment manufacturing.
There are several variants of the Tiger helicopter classified within the six-ton category, designed for reconnaissance, escort, protection, and air-to-air as well as air-to-ground combat missions. The HAD variant is the most complete and modern version of this family, which provides the flexible multi-mission platform that it is demanded by military forces in operational theaters.
To date, the Tiger program has 206 combined orders from Germany (80 UHT), France (40 HAP/F and 40 HAD/F), Australia (22 ARH) and Spain (24 HAD/E). Through May 2013, there were 93 Tiger helicopters in service, with some 44,430 total flight hours.
Source : Eurocopter, an EADS N.V. company (Paris: EAD.PA)