Eurocopter Tiger – Warbird Wednesday Episode #215

The Eurocopter Tiger is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter which first entered service in 2003. It is manufactured by Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter), which arose from the merger of Aérospatiale’s and DASA’s respective helicopter divisions. Airbus Helicopters designates it as the EC665. In France and Spain, the Tiger is known as the Tigre (which is French and Spanish for Tiger), while in Germany it is referred to as the Tiger.

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. During its prolonged development period the Soviet Union collapsed, changing the European security situation. France and Germany chose to proceed with the Tiger, developing it instead as a multirole attack helicopter. It achieved operational readiness in 2008.

The Tiger has the distinction of being the first all-composite helicopter developed in Europe; even the earliest models also incorporate other advanced features such as a glass cockpit, stealth technology, and high agility to increase its survivability. Improved variants have since entered service, outfitted with more powerful engines and compatible with a wider range of weapons. Since entering service, Tigers have been used in combat in Afghanistan, Libya, and Mali.