Spain de­ploys Ti­gre he­li­copters in Afghanistan


Spain has be­come the third coun­try, af­ter France and Ger­many, to de­ploy Ti­gre at­tack he­li­copters to Afghanistan; all have been trans­ported by char­tered Antonov An-124 freighters. Three Ti­gre he­li­copters of At­tack Heli­copter Bat­tal­ion (BHELA) No. 1, sta­tioned at the Coronel Sánchez Bil­bao base at Al­ma­gro (Ci­u­dad Real), were loaded on an Antonov trans­port plane for their trans­fer flight to Herat base, in Afghanistan.

Dur­ing its first com­bat mis­sion, the Ti­gre’s vast ca­pa­bil­i­ties will pro­vide pro­tec­tion and se­cu­rity to our forces dur­ing their with­drawal. Two Ti­gre de­ploy­ments are planned, each com­posed of 32 mil­i­tary, in­clud­ing pi­lots, me­chan­ics and gen­eral staff per­son­nel.

Over the past six months, the unit has car­ried out sev­eral ex­er­cises in Chin­chilla, Ag­oncillo, Bar­de­nas Reales, Al­ma­gro and Col­me­nar Viejo to eval­u­ate the ca­pa­bil­i­ties and the readi­ness of crews and main­te­nance per­son­nel.

The Ti­gre heli­copter can be de­fined as a true “weapon sys­tem.” It is equipped with a 30mm can­non in the nose, and can carry up to four Mis­tral air-to-air mis­siles to­gether with 44 68mm rock­ets (air-to-ground).

The he­li­copters be­ing de­ployed to Afghanistan are equipped with a de­fen­sive sys­tem con­sist­ing of radar warn­ing re­ceiver (which alerts you when radar trans­mis­sions are de­tected) mis­sile launch warn­ing sys­tem (which de­tects and warns of a nearby mis­sile launch), and a laser warn­ing re­ceiver (de­tects if a laser beam is pointed on the heli­copter, in­di­cat­ing it is be­ing des­ig­nated as tar­get).

It also is fit­ted with coun­ter­mea­sures such as chaff and flare launch­ers, to de­ceive or de­coy mis­siles fired at the heli­copter.

Each of the two de­ploy­ments is com­posed of 32 peo­ple, in­clud­ing pi­lots, me­chan­ics and gen­eral staff per­son­nel. The first de­ploy­ment will con­sist of eight of­fi­cers, 15 NCOs and nine troops, while the sec­ond de­ploy­ment will com­prise seven of­fi­cers, 16 NCOs and nine troops. In prin­ci­ple, the du­ra­tion of each de­ploy­ment is four months.

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