Wednesday, June 1, 2011
|Eurocopter Tiger. Eurocopter/Anthony Pecchi|
Eurocopter has reportedly resolved “technical/harness problems” with the Tiger UHT (Unterstutzungshubschrauber Tiger) destined for the German Army, with 16 of the 80 ordered now delivered. Full responsibility for the aircraft was turned over to the Army last March, with the new aircraft being operated with the Kampfhubschrauberregiment 36 “Kurhessen” (Attack Helicopter Regiment 36).
Resolution of the problems was achieved through a “Tiger task force” set up in 2009, with the problem of harness chafing solved last year, the manufacturer reports. Other technical problems have been identified and Eurocopter “is working with high pressure on a timely delivery schedule.” The German Parliament is also increasing pressure on the German ministry of defense “to speed up operational deployment of UH Tiger to protect German forces in Afghanistan,” the company added. “The technical problems have been identified. Nevertheless, equally important is the number of certification and approval personnel on the governmental side for the UHT helicopter in order to keep the timeline.” As of May 1, Eurocopter has received orders for 206 Tigers, with 72 delivered. This includes 80 ordered by the French Army, 80 by the German Army, 22 by the Australian Army and 24 by the Spanish Army. The French have ordered 40 HAP (Hélicoptère d’Appui Protection) Tigers with 30 delivered, plus 40 HAD (Hélicoptère d’Appui Destruction) Tigers, with none delivered through May. Australia has ordered 22 armed reconnaissance helicopters (ARHs) with 20 delivered, and Spain has purchased 24 HADs with six delivered. Eurocopter said that three Tigers from the French Army Aviation have been operating in Afghanistan since July 2009 and have logged more than 1,900 flight hours during the ensuing two years, with availability in excess of 90 percent. Those hours were accumulated through 650 combat operational missions, “mainly close combat attack, armed reconnaissance as well as air and ground escort.” This experience in Afghanistan has allowed Eurocopter to continue improvement programs, focusing on communications, such as the need for large band data link, and electro-optical systems.
Recent technological upgrades for the Tiger programs include putting the MTR 390-E on the HAD version, providing two 1,341 shp engines at maximum continuous power, increasing total power by 14 percent from the MTR 390-2C rated at 1,171 shp at maximum continuous power.