The Eurocopter Tiger (company designation EC 665) is an attack helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter. In Germany it is known as the Tiger; in France and Spain it is called the Tigre.
In 1984, the French and West German governments issued a requirement for an advanced multi-role battlefield helicopter . A joint venture consisting of Aérospatiale and MBB was subsequently chosen as the preferred supplier. Due to high costs, the program was cancelled in 1986, but was relaunched during 1987. Subsequently, in November 1989, Eurocopter received a contract to build five prototypes. Three were to be unarmed testbeds and the other two armed prototypes: one for the French escort helicopter variant and the other for the German anti-tank variant.
The first prototype first flew in April 1991. When Aérospatiale and MBB, among others, merged in 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group, the Tiger program was transferred as well. Serial production of the Tiger began in March 2002 and the first flight of the first production Tiger HAP for the French Army took place in March 2003. The delivery of the first of the eighty helicopters ordered by the French took place in September 2003.
At the end of 2003, deliveries began of the 80 UHT version combat support helicopters ordered by Germany to the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement. Due to technical problems, operational capability is not expected to be achieved before the end of 2012 at the latest.
The body of the Tiger is made from 80% carbon fiber reinforced polymer and kevlar, 11% aluminium, and 6% titanium. The rotors are made from fiber-plastic able to withstand combat damage and bird strikes. Protection against lightning and electromagnetic pulse is ensured by embedded copper/bronze grid and copper bonding foil.
While the Tiger has a conventional helicopter gunship configuration of the two crew sitting in tandem, it is somewhat unusual in that the pilot is in the front seat and the gunner is in the back, unlike all other current attack helicopters. The seats are offset to opposite sides of the centerline to improve the view forward for the gunner in the back.
Crews coming to the Tiger from other platforms require additional training because the additional capabilities bring a higher workload.
Crew: Two: pilot and weapon systems officer
Length: 14.08 m fuselage (46 ft 2 in)
Rotor diameter: 13.00 m (42 ft 8 in)
Height: 3.83 m (12 ft 7 in)
Disc area: 133 m² (1,430 ft²)
Empty weight : 3,060 kg (6,750 lb)
Max. takeoff weight : 6,000 kg (13,000 lb))
Powerplant : 2 × MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce MTR390 turboshafts , 873 kW (1,170 shp) each
Internal fuel capacity: 1,080 kg (2,380 lb)
Maximum speed : 290 km/h with mast, 315 km/h without mast (157 knots, 181 mph with mast, 170 knots or 196 mph without mast)
Range : 800 km (430 nm, 500 mi) combat (with external tanks in the inboard stations: 1,300km)
Service ceiling : 4,000 m (13,000 ft)
Rate of climb : 10.7 m/s (2,105 ft/min)
1× 30 mm (1.18 in) GIAT 30 cannon in chin turret, with up to 450 rounds.
On each of its two inner hardpoints and two outer hardpoints the Eurocopter Tiger can carry a combination of the following weapons:
Inner hardpoints :
1x 20 mm (0.787 in) autocannon pods, or
22× 68 mm (2.68 in) SNEB unguided rockets in a pod, or
4x AGM-114 Hellfire laser guided missiles
Outer hardpoints :
2× Mistral air-to-air missiles, or
12× 68 mm (2.68 in) SNEB unguided rockets in a pod