Tag Archives: EC665

Green light for German Navy NH90 Sea Lion, Army gets less choppers

Despite problems with quality control and the availability of spare parts for the Airbus Helicopters / NHIndustries NH90s of the German Army Aviation, the German Navy got the green light for the procurement of 18 NH90 Sea Lion maritime helicopters this week.

Berlin wants the Nato Frigate Helicopter (NFH) version of the NH90 to replace the aging Westland Mk 41 Sea King operating with Marinefliegergeschwader 5 (MFG5) at Nordholz, and the MFG5’s Westland Mk 88A Sea Lynx choppers that fly from German Navy frigates. The deal was okayed on 4 March 2015.

The land-based NH90 Sea Lions will operate as troop-insertion platform, support for naval special forces and as search-and-rescue chopper. The Sea Lion will be about 60 knots faster than the Sea King, which is one of the reasons why the Navy wants to move quickly forward with the purchase.

The future of German Navy Aviation: the NH90 to serve also in the naval special forces role like demonstrated here by the French Navy (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
The future of German Navy Aviation: the NH90 to serve also in the naval special forces role like demonstrated here by the French Navy (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

German Army Aviation
The Bundeswehr will go ahead with downsizing of the NH90 fleet. As propositioned earlier the Heeresflieger (German Army Aviation) will only get 80 NH90 TTHs, instead of the 134 originally planned a decade ago. Thirty-six were delivered at the end of 2014, but the introduction has been plagued by big operational issues and not even a single NH90 is said to be in full promised operational status. Another two NH90s will be purchased as training system.

A German Army NH90 in the field. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
A German Army NH90 in the field. (Image © Dennis Spronk)

Tiger attack helicopter
At the same time the Army Aviation has got to say bye-bye to 11 of its EC665 Tiger attack helicopters of the oldest batch. Berlin has set the operational level to 40 Tigers in total, while Airbus Helicopters delivers another 17 for attrition replacement, testing and training. After complaints about its quality on the battlefield the German Army finally received the last of a dozen upgraded Tiger UHT support helicopters in March 2014.

© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (top): A maritime version of the NH90, this example serving the French Navy (Image © Marine Nationale)

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Eurocopter EC665 Tiger UHT (Tigre) in German Army (Heer) livery at the 2008 ILA Airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Deutschland). UHT stands for Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger (Support Helicopter Tiger). The aircraft bears serial no. 98+26 and has no. 398 on the nose. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Eurocopter EC665 Tiger UHT (Tigre) in German Army (Heer) livery at the 2008 ILA Airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Deutschland). UHT stands for Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger (Support Helicopter Tiger). The aircraft bears serial no. 98+26 and has no. 398 on the nose. (Image © Marcel Burger)

Yet more Airbus choppers to Spain

Airbus Helicopters has completed delivery of the first NH90 GSPA tactical transport helicopter and first two Tiger helicopters in the new HAD-E version, all destined for the Spanish Army Airmobile Force (FAMET). These three helicopters were assembled in the Spanish plant in Albacete, which successfully carried out the industrial phase, airworthiness certification and technical acceptance. The delivery follows that of several Airbus Helicopters to Spain earlier.

Airbus Helicopters will supply a total of 22 NH90 helicopters to the Spanish Armed Forces under a delivery schedule that continues through to 2021. The Spanish plant is responsible for assembly of all the NH90 helicopters for the Spanish Armed Forces, along with manufacture of the front fuselage section both for the Spanish helicopters and for those destined for export.

The Spanish version of the NH90, the GSPA, has been designed to perform technical missions such as troop transport, search and rescue missions, personnel recovery and medical evacuation. It is equipped for day and night operations in all types of environments.

Tiger
As for the combat helicopters, Tiger deliveries belong to the new HAD-E version, which offers numerous advantages compared to the HAP-E Tigers currently in service: a new MTR-E turboshaft with 14 percent  more power, an improved optronic vision system, Spike air-to-ground missiles, an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system coupled with an interrogator and a new electronic warfare and countermeasure system.

The Spanish Army purchased a total of 24 of these helicopters. To date, six HAP-E Tiger helicopters have been delivered to the Attack Helicopter Battalion. Their satisfactory deployment in Afghanistan during 2013 represents an important milestone for this helicopter.

Source: Airbus Helicopters

Nice colours on those Spanish helos. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)
Nice colours on those Spanish helos. (Image © Airbus Helicopters)

French Army’s first Tigre HAD Block 2

The French Army received its first two HAD Block 2 versions of the Airbus Helicopters Tigres. These combat helicopters (Hélicoptère d’Appui Destruction) have additional enhancement to the versions already in service.

The Block 2 version has an improved targeting accuracy for rockets, the addition of combat external fuel tanks that provide longer flight times while still enabling the full complement of armament to be used, an extension of the flight domain in which Spike and Hellfire anti-tank missiles can be fired, and the integration of digital communications for operations. The HAD block 2 helicopters are also “navalized,” allowing their use from ships and in sea environments.

The newly-delivered HAD Block 2 aircraft will be operated by GAMSTAT (the air mobility group belonging to the technical “section” of the French Army), then assigned to the 1st Army Combat Helicopter Regiment, located at the Phalsbourg-Bourscheid Airbase in France’s Moselle region. This unit already operates HAD Block 1helicopters, which have been deployed to the Central African Republic recently.

The Armée the Terre already flies six HAD Block 1 Tigres, alongside 40 of the HAP version (Hélicoptère d’Appui Protection) for support and escort. Germany, Spain and Australia together fly 62 other Tiger attack choppers.

Source: Airbus Helicopters with additional reporting by Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger

The new Tigre HAD Block 2 for the French Army (Image © Jerome Deulin / Airbus Helicopters)
The new Tigre HAD Block 2 for the French Army (Image © Jerome Deulin / Airbus Helicopters)

France: Tigres and Atlas to Central Africa

The Ecole de l'aviation légère de l'armée de terre is where future pilots learn to fly the EC665 Tigre attack helicopter, among others. (Image © Dennis Spronk)
Featured image: a French EC665 Tigre
(Image © Dennis Spronk
France sent two Eurocopter (Airbus Helicopters) EC 665 Tigre attack helicopters to the Central African Republic (CAR), in support of Operation Sangaris.

They join two Aérospatiale SA340 Gazelle scout and four SA330 Puma medium-lift helicopters already supporting 2,000 French ground forces that are in the CAR together with 6,700 troops of the international force MINUSCA.

The Tigres of the Aviation légère de l’armée de terre made their first operational flight on 26 November 2014. France predicts that the current politicization of the various armed groups might lead to new tensions in the area, which is the main reason to send the extra air-to-ground combat assets.

The deployed pair of EC665 Tigre attack helicopters in the air over the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
The deployed pair of EC665 Tigre attack helicopters in the air over the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)

A400M
November saw also the first operational flight of the new Airbus A400M Atlas when it flew a supply mission to Bangui, marking the first landing of the type at this M’Poko International Airport on 7 November 2014. The tactical airlifter of the French Air Force’s Transport Squadron 1/61 Touraine made a 9:45 hour flight from French Air Force base (Base Aérienne (BA)) 123 d’Orléans to M’Poko airport to unload 7.4 tons of equipment for the Sangaris force. The crew of fourteen (pilots, mechanics and loadmasters) made a stop-over in N’Djamena before returning to Bangui.

Operation
Operation Sangaris started in December 2013 with the deployment of French troops to the international airport of Bangui, after the established government and capital came under direct threat of armed groups.

Source: Ministère de la Défense

7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)
7 november 2014 marked the first time an Airbus A400M Atlas landed on Bangui. The French Air Force machine flew in support of Operation Sangaris in the Central African Republic (Image © Ministère de la Défense)

Final Tiger for German Army Afghanistan ops

The Heererflieger Tiger UHT ASGARD 74+34 at the Donauwörth facility (Image © Charles Abarr / Airbus Helicopters)
The Heererflieger Tiger UHT ASGARD 74+34 at the Donauwörth facility (Image © Charles Abarr / Airbus Helicopters)

The Germany Army received the last of 12 Tiger UHT support helicopters upgraded by Airbus Helicopters (fka Eurocopter) for Afghanistan missions on 6 March 2014.

The hand-over to the Kampfhubschrauberregiment 36 (KHR36 or Combat Helicopter Regiment 36) took place at Airbus Helicopters’ Donauwörth, Germany, production facility.

The dozen Tiger UHT support helicopters (Unterstützungshubschrauber) were delivered in three batches of four. They are modified to the so-called ASGARD standard, the configuration for the Afghanistan Stabilization German Army Rapid Deployment. Launched in 2011 it includes installation of engine sand filters and additional ballistic protection, along with the incorporation of a mission data recorder and enhanced communication equipment for multinational missions.

The German Armed Forces began deploying its initial Tiger UHTs modified to the ASGARD configuration in December 2012, with operations beginning a month later in Mazar-e-Scharif.

To date, these ASGARD-upgraded Tigers have accumulated well over 1,000 flight hours in German military service, demonstrating their high reliability, mission effectiveness, and a high level of acceptance during support missions.

Overall, Airbus Helicopters has delivered more than 100 Tigers in their various versions to the military services of Germany, France, Spain and Australia – accumulating more than 50,000 flight hours, including over 7,500 hours logged during military operations in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali and Somalia.

Source: Airbus Helicopters

Eurocopter EC665 Tiger UHT (Tigre) in German Army (Heer) livery at the 2008 ILA Airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Deutschland). UHT stands for Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger (Support Helicopter Tiger). The aircraft bears serial no. 98+26 and has no. 398 on the nose. (Image © Marcel Burger)
Eurocopter EC665 Tiger UHT (Tigre) in German Army (Heer) livery at the 2008 ILA Airshow at Berlin-Schönefeld, Germany (Deutschland). UHT stands for Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger (Support Helicopter Tiger). The aircraft bears serial no. 98+26 and has no. 398 on the nose. (Image © Marcel Burger)