ARCHIVE: The Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter

[This paged was Archived in February 2018. Future ADF Page advocates Option C outlined in this post: AH-64s and then Coaxial Gunship helos. The Tiger ARH is set to be retired from service.]

The following are future design upgrades to the Tiger Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter currently in use by the Australian Army. The intention of these significant alterations is to allow better anti-air capability and improved look-down sensing against targets at relatively close range - particularly in situations were the helo has been ambushed. The current position of the primary IR sensor (above the cabin) implies targeting at a distance over flat terrain. Future ADF Page proposes the following:

1. Movement of the 30mm gun further aft and primary IR sensors incorporated into the nose as per the Super Cobra plus installation of the Longbow Radar*. The current primary sensor location - on top of the cabin - can be retained with a smaller secondary IRST or FLIR capability: 

This is the modified aircraft with extended undercarriage to allow for the new gun position. 
This is the original aircraft before modification.
2. Replacement of the winglets with a type that enables the use of inboard drop tanks with hellfire missiles stationed outboard and anti-aircraft missiles positioned either on the tips or above the wing.

3. Tiger ARH numbers increased to at least 30 (or doubled to 44) from the current 22. Much higher numbers of attack helicopters should be acquired to compensate for the relatively small numbers of army personel.

*It should be noted that the improved anti-air capability Longbow radar is intended to counter 'helicopter killer' aircraft such as the Embraer EMB 314 Super Tucano and also fast jets. Anti-aircraft missiles would be incorporated to the platform in this eventuality.  


An easier-to-implement modification program would see a ball sensor turret added directly underneath the forward crew compartment. The pilot and gunner could then toggle between the upper sensors, for longer range targeting, and the lower sensors, for closer range targeting. The undercarriage would need to be extended or the turret made semi-retractable.


If any fundamental problems with the Tiger ARH persist, and pose a long term threat to operational availability, including obstacles to increasing their numbers where the high cost of each aircraft becomes a serious issue, then these platforms must be phased out and replaced with numerous examples of proven attack helos - either the AH-64E or AH1 (the UK variant.)

*Eventually these helicopters will be replaced by significantly up armoured and radar equipped AVX Coaxial Rotor Platforms with added (twin) vertical stabilisers (to provide improved directional stability at speed). These new helicopters should only enter service after full introduction overseas. They must be modified to fire air-to-air missiles.