Spain has approved the budget to upgrade its Airbus Tiger attack helicopters to the Mk3 version, a controversial move which saw Germany hesitating.
“A very positive step towards the launch of the upgrade so that it remains an essential & modern asset to its armies for decades to come,” Bruno Even, the CEO of Airbus Helicopters, tweeted on December 22, 2021.
Spain has approved the budget for the Tiger MK3 programme. A very positive step towards the launch of the upgrade so that it remains an essential & modern asset to its armies for decades to come, reinforcing European defence cooperation. Thank you @desdelamoncloa for your trust pic.twitter.com/zswXVKDnMb— Bruno Even (@BrunoEven) December 22, 2021
Airbus Tiger – a primary attack helicopter for Germany, France, Spain and some other countries – has been causing controversy since 2018, when Airbus laid out a plan to roll out a significant upgrade to the machine which was designed during the Cold War.
Though it signed an initial agreement for the upgrade, Germany has been citing low operational readiness of the aircraft, and much like Australia, it has been eyeing a switch to a different platform such as Apache AH-64 helicopters from Boeing.
However, Spain’s agreement to go with the upgrade puts Airbus in a more advantageous situation.
The new upgrade should include new information links, manned-unmanned teaming capability and a new anti-tank missile.
On the French side, that update is a necessity, as the Tiger helicopters of the French Army Light Aviation need to be able to share information with the newly-inducted frontline fighting vehicles of the Scorpion program.