Warplanes: Tiger Stalks Apache

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January 22, 2008: The German Army has received the first of 80 Tiger HAD helicopter gunships [PHOTO]. The Tiger slowly entered service five years ago. The HAD version has 14 percent more engine power and better protection from ground fire. While earlier versions were mainly for anti-vehicle work, the HAD model is more like the current U.S. AH-64 Apache, and optimized for ground support. Development of Tiger began in 1987, before the Cold War ended. So the anti-tank aspect took a while to disappear. The Tiger costs about as much as the AH-64 (about $45 million each).

The six ton Tiger has a crew of two and a max speed of 280 kilometers an hour. It cruises at 230 kilometers an hour, usually stays in the air about three hours per sortie. It is armed with a 30mm automatic cannon, 70mm rocket pods (19 rockets per pod) and various types of air-to-ground missiles (eight Hellfire types at once). It can also carry four Mistral anti-aircraft missiles.

France has bought 80 Tigers, Spain 24 and Australia 22. The eight ton AH-64 has been in service for 25 years, and nearly 1,100 have been built so far.

 


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