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In 1984 the German and French governments issued a requirement for an advanced multi-role battlefield helicopter. A joint venture consisting of MBB and Aerospatiale was subsequently chosen as the preferred supplier. Due to high costs, the program was canceled in 1986, but was relaunched during 1987. Subsequently, in November 1989, Eurocopter received a contract to build 5 prototypes. Three were to be unarmed testbeds and the other two armed prototypes: one for the German anti-tank variant and the other for the French escort helicopter variant.
The first prototype first flew in April 1991. When Aerospatiale and MBB, among others, merged in 1992 to form the Eurocopter Group, the Tiger program was transferred as well. Serial production of the Tiger began in March 2002 and the first flight of the first production Tiger HAP for the French Army took place in March 2003. The delivery of the first of the eighty helicopters ordered by the French took place in September 2003.
The UHT (from Unterstützungshubschrauber Tiger; Ger. supporting helicopter Tiger) is a medium-weight multi-role fire support helicopter built for the Bundeswehr (German Army).
The UHT can carry PARS 3 LR 'fire and forget' and/or HOT3 anti-tank missiles as well as 70 mm Hydra air-to-ground fire support rockets. Four AIM-92 Stinger missiles (2 on each side) are mounted for air-to-air combat. Unlike the HAP/HCP version it has no integrated gun turret, but a 12.7 mm gunpod can be fitted if needed. The German Army decided against the French 30 mm GIAT cannon that is used on other Tiger versions because of the recoil. The upgrade of the UHT with the Rheinmetall RMK30, a 30 mm recoilless autocannon, is not yet clarified due the budget.
Another noticeable difference with the HAP version is the use of a mast-mounted sight, which has a second-generation infrared channel and a TV channel.
Countermeasures include radar/laser/missile launch/missile approach warning receivers and decoy launchers.