Feb 2, 2015

France Cuts Order for Tiger Helicopters

French authorities have agreed to cut 20 Tiger combat helicopters and retrofit to simplify the two-model fleet to the more capable attack version.
The new feature is a conversion of the existing escort unit to the attack model.
The 20-strong cut stems from the 2014-19 multiyear budget law, which slashed a planned acquisition of 80 Tigers to 60.
Under the amendment, there is a firm order for 24 attack and a retrofit of 36 escort units.
That firm order of 24 new attack helicopters is effectively a cut of 16 from the previous contract for 40 units.
Airbus Helicopter is expected to deliver the first retrofit of the escort to the attack model in 2017.
The existing fleet of escort units will be upgraded with laser-guided Hellfire II missiles and a more powerful engine.
Other French helicopter programs have been affected. On the NH90 transport helicopter, deliveries have been stretched out, with the French Navy to receive three units this year and then two units per year. The Navy has ordered 27 NH90s.
The Army, which is due to receive a total 68 NH90s, will receive four per year compared to a previous target of eight.
Tiger is a French-German-Spanish program, and the attack version is a French-Spanish cooperation.

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