Airbus Helicopters SAS (formerly Eurocopter Group) delivered the final Spanish Tiger HAD attack helicopter to the Spanish Army (Ejército de Tierra) on 14th January 2020, European intergovernmental organisation OCCAR ((Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en matière d’Armement) announced in a statement. This delivery represents the last of a total of 18 HAD helicopters that have been produced by Airbus Helicopters for the Spanish Army. Tiger HAD attack helicopter was used as a prototype for the development of the Spanish HAD fleet and was finally retrofitted into the serial configuration Block 2 (B2). Airbus Helicopters is fully concentrated on the retrofits of four helicopters from the previous B1 into the final B2 configuration for the Spanish Customer.
The Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters) Tiger is a four-bladed, twin-engined attack helicopter which first entered service in 2003. It is manufactured by Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters), the successor company to Aérospatiale’s and DASA’s respective helicopter divisions, which designate it as the EC665. Following their languages, in Germany it is known as the Tiger; in France and Spain it is called the Tigre. Development of the Tiger started during the Cold War, and it was initially intended as an anti-tank helicopter platform to be used against a Soviet ground invasion of Western Europe. Since the type’s introduction to service, Tigers have been used in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali.
In September 2003, Spain selected a variant of the Tiger HAP combat support helicopter the Tiger HAD for its army. The 24 helicopters of this type would be armed with the PARS 3 LR and Mistral missile systems, and feature uprated Enhanced MTR390 engines capable of lifting heavier payloads. Deliveries of the HAD variant began in 2007. The September 2003 arrangements not only involved a procurement deal but the induction of Spain into the Tiger program itself, leading to the greater integration of parts of Spain’s aeronautics industry with the new multinational Eurocopter organisation. Shortly following Spain’s order, France chose to not proceed with the pure anti-tank Tiger HAC variant, instead electing to procure the multirole-oriented Tiger HAD being procured by Spain.