Maiden flight of the HAD (1) version

On 14 December 2007, the Tiger HAD 01 intended for Spain made its maiden flight in Marignane. This was a taste of things to come, as 2008 will be devoted to the development flights of this weapon system.


© Eurocopter / E.Raz
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© Eurocopter / E.Raz
Cliquer pour agrandir


The test crew consisting of Fabrice Bonne (test pilot) and Laurent Palcy (test engineer) pronounced the helicopter very mature on its maiden flight.


The firing configuration of the HAD version of the Tiger is more versatile than the HAP (2) version and is capable of performing more than 20 extra missions. This added versatility means the maximum takeoff weight has had to be increased to 6.6 metric tons (500 kg heavier than the HAP version), which is made possible by a 14% increase in the engine power. However, the maiden flight was performed using two MTR390-2C engines (the production engines for the HAP version) because the new engines for the HAD will only be installed on the aircraft in 2009 (following an integration phase beginning in mid-2008).
The aim of this first flight, which lasted one hour and 15 minutes, was to verify the correct functioning of the helicopter as a whole. The test crew consisting of Fabrice Bonne (test pilot) and Laurent Palcy (test engineer) pronounced the helicopter very mature, which means the functional check phase will be short, and from mid-January 2008 the development flights for the weapon system will begin. This year will be marked by three major steps in terms of development: the firing of the Spike air-to-ground missile in May, the flight evaluation of the man-machine-interface (MMI) by the government agencies in September, and finally the firing campaign for the Hellfire missile in November. The qualification of the HAD version will take place in 2010. The development of this version was launched by the signing of the Intention to Proceed (ITP) in December 2004, and was confirmed by the contract signed by Eurocopter and OCCAR (3) at the end of November 2005. This contract set the date of the first flight to 15 December 2007, and the HAD programme is therefore on time and on cost. “The success achieved to date is the result of three factors,” explains Gérard Cuadrado, the man in charge of the development of the HAD version: “Firstly, we refused point blank to compromise on achieving the objective (the configuration, the flight clearance date, and the date of the maiden flight), and this has allowed us to guarantee the schedule over the next 12 months. Secondly, exemplary work has been shown at many levels: between the people from the production (prototype and industrial centres, assembly line) and engineering departments working on the multi-skilled team; between the three pillars of the group, France, Germany and Spain; and with the government agencies of these three nations. Thirdly and finally, Eurocopter in Spain has played a major role, assuming genuine responsibilities: the tail boom, the Interrogator Friend or Foe (IFF) functions, and the Electronic Warfare System (EWS). Our Spanish colleagues are also contributing to the development of the software and its integration on the aircraft, which adds up to 20% of the engineering work.”

(1) Support Destruction helicopter
(2) Combat support helicopter
(3) European Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation


_ AUTHOR: CHRISTIAN DA SILVA


EXTRA ASSETS OF THE HAD VERSION

• Multi-purpose mission system
• More powerful MTR 390-E engines
• Air-to-ground weapons (Spike and Hellfire)
• New sight with dual beam laser illuminator
• New combined IFF transponder
• New countermeasures system
• Helmet mounted sight with control and firing symbology
• Optimised cockpit ballistic protection