Eurocopter, June 18, 1999 - LE BOURGET, France - In presence of Jean-Yves Helmer, Head of the French Armament Agency, DGA, and Dr. Hans-Heinrich Weise, National German Deputy Armament Director, Detlev Petry President of the BWB (Federal German Agency for Military Technology and Procurement) signed the production contract for the Franco-German combat and support helicopter, Tiger, on June 18, 1999, during the International Aerospace Exhibition at Le Bourget.
Patrick Gavin, Chairman, and Dr. Siegfried Sobotta, Co-Chairman of Eurocopter, welcomed this decisive step towards production of the Tiger, one of the most important military programmes ever launched in Europe. They expressed their thanks to the two Ministries of Defence for the high priority given to the Tiger programme by the governments of Germany and France.
The contract signals clearance for Tiger production. An initial batch of 160 helicopters, 80 for Germany and 80 for France, will be procured. The German Army's total requirement of 212 and the French Army's requirement of a total of 215 Tiger helicopters remains unchanged. Production and final assembly of the machines will be at the Eurocopter plants in Donauwörth (Germany) and Marignane (France). Cost and work shares are divided between the two partner countries on a 50:50 per cent basis. Deliveries will commence in 2002.
Tiger development began with the signature of the main development contract in November 1989 and is largely completed.
Flight and systems testing is executed with five prototypes which have accumulated a total of 2000 flight hours to date. Flight performances of the Tiger fulfil all specifications and partly exceed these. All programme milestones were completed within the original cost and time schedule. The Tiger programme is based on fixed-price contracts.
The Tiger programme is of utmost importance for the European helicopter and equipment industry. The order for the production of the helicopters will subsequently increase, as of 2001 and 2003, to a total of 2000 jobs in each of the countries envolved, thus safeguarding high-technology industrial capacities in Germany and France, as well as increasing the European industry's competitiveness in the international market in the long term.
The Tiger constitutes an entirely new generation of helicopters both for the industry and for the armed forces of Germany and France. Being the most advanced combat helicopter in the world today, Tiger offers maximum flexibility and mission diversity to meet the new challenges facing Western alliance and United Nations member countries following the collapse of the Warsaw Pact. Rapid reaction forces, the Franco-German Brigade, Euro-Corps and similar units can make full use of Tiger's inherent multi-mission capabilities which include: dedicated anti-tank missions, mixed ground-target engagements, escort/combat support missions, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as protection missions for unarmed transport helicopters flying humanitarian aid missions.
Joint training, logistics, spare parts supplies and more effective interoperability for the troops of several countries result in better economics and cost reductions in the defence sector.
The Franco-German decision for Tiger therefore marks a decisive step towards European integration in defence policy.