Australia receives final Tiger attack helicopter

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The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has received its final Eurocopter Tiger, bringing its fleet of the type to 22 aircraft.

The armed reconnaissance helicopters were obtained under Project Air 87 to replace the Australian army's Bell 206B-1 Kiowas and UH-1H Iroquois helicopter gunships, said Eurocopter's Australian Aerospace subsidiary.

Australia's Tigers are deployed with the army's 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin, at the Army Aviation Training Centre at Oakey in Queensland and also at the Royal Australian Air Force's Edinburgh base in South Australia.

"This is a great day for army aviation, the Australian Defence Force and for Australian Aerospace," said Jens Goennemann, chief executive of Australian Aerospace. "The Tiger ARH has been a complex and demanding programme and one not without its fair share of challenges."

Under Air 87, Australian Aerospace provides assembly of the helicopters in Brisbane, plus crew training, programme management and through-life support.

 

© Commonwealth of Australia

The Tiger's armament comprises a 30mm cannon in a nose turret, 70mm rockets and Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. Its airframe is largely made from composites, which Australian Aerospace said reduces the aircraft's radar cross section, as well as making it lighter and more agile.

French army Tigers have been in combat use in Afghanistan and Libya during 2011, with the type also having been delivered to Germany and Spain.