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.