Just over a year ago, then Defense Minister Lambrecht declared in the Bundestag that only nine out of 51 Tiger machines were operational. The Bundeswehr is now looking for a successor model.
The federal government no longer wants to participate in the modernization of the breakdown-prone Tiger attack helicopters. Investigations have shown that “participation in the Tiger MK III program would be highly risky in terms of costs and time,” said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defense on Saturday when asked about a report by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. With the Tiger Mk III program, to which Spain and France have already committed themselves as other user nations, the helicopters should be fundamentally technically revised.
The ministry spokeswoman said that without further measures “according to current planning, the last German Tiger attack helicopter will be taken out of service in 2038”. The then Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) had declared in the Bundestag at the end of April 2022 that only nine of 51 Tiger machines were operational. The Tiger fleet is now to be slowly reduced from 2031, the newspaper writes.
Instead of switching to other attack helicopters available on the market, such as the Apache helicopter or Viper machines from the USA, according to SZ, lighter helicopters that were originally designed for civilian purposes and then further developed for the military should be purchased.
Successor model already in sight
“The Bundeswehr is planning to purchase light attack helicopters that are available on the market,” the spokeswoman confirmed. The models that the ministry has envisaged are capable of a comparable product to combat helicopters and combat operations. “Against the background of being able to procure quickly and in a marketable manner, the Bundeswehr can be provided with a powerful and assertive light attack helicopter at short notice,” it said.
According to “SZ” information, the Airbus H-145M helicopter is under discussion as the successor model. In the civilian variant, this is used in rescue services. The Bundeswehr is planning to equip him with anti-tank weapons. When asked about concrete plans, the ministry only said that it was currently working on “future-oriented solutions”. According to the newspaper, the ministry wants to get the procurement through parliament this year. H145M helicopters are already in service with the Bundeswehr – as light multi-purpose helicopters to support special forces. A total of 15 helicopters of this type were procured for the Bundeswehr.
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