Procurement: December 23, 2004


Australia has received the first two of 22 Tiger ARH (Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters.) The Tiger is a competitor for the American AH-64 Apache, and is built by a group of French, German and Spanish companies. Development began in the late 1980s, first flight was in 1991 and the first Tigers entered service in 2003. France has ordered 120, and Germany another 120. The six ton gunship is 80 percent composites, which accounts for its light weight. Tiger can stay in the air for about three hours per sortie. Cruising speed is 228 kilometers an hour. Tigers carry the usual anti-tank missiles and automatic cannon. Costing about $20 million each to build, that does not include the two billion dollar development cost. The main problem with Tiger is the competition. Italy already has a similar helicopter gunship, the A129 Mangusta. Export sales also run into the AH-64 and Russian helicopters. In effect, the Tiger has to be sold at a loss to be competitive, and even that isnt working so well.


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