The Direction Générale de l'Armement (DGA), the French defence procurement agency, announced on its website on 3 October that it had launched studies into the upgrade of the Tiger combat helicopter and the Eurofl'eye panoramic camera for the special operation forces (SOF) version of the NH90.
The Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) awarded the study contracts on 26 September to prepare French Tigers to be upgraded to the Mk3 version to Airbus Helicopters, Thales, and MDBA.
The Tiger Mk3 will have network centric combat capabilities by connecting it to the army's Scorpion system and the capability to communicate directly with unmanned aircraft systems, according to the DGA. The agency said the Tiger could also benefit from being able to use the European Galileo satellite positioning system, in addition to GPS as it currently does.
The DGA awarded the study contract for the NH90 to Safran to develop the Eurofl'eye panoramic camera. Made up of several sensors instead of a single camera, the system will considerably facilitate the flying of helicopters in extreme environmental conditions and will give the pilot and co-pilot independent fields of view, according to the DGA.
The study will include ground followed by flight tests on the DGA's simulators and helicopter testbeds in Istres. France's 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment will be involved every step of the qualification, the agency said.
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