It is expected that the Tiger Mk3, the next evolution of the European combat helicopter, by 2027-2030 will equip the light aircraft of the French Army (ALAT) and Ejército de Tierra español. During Eurosatory 2022, this new version of the EC665 Tiger presents its new features, including the new Euroflir 510 sight, which is the center of the new combat system.
Common sight for all variants of the Tiger Mk3
Currently, the combat helicopter “Tiger” has two main sights, depending on the version. German aircraft are equipped with a Safran OSIRIS mast sight located above the propeller. French, Spanish and Australian aircraft have a gyro-stabilized sight on the roof of STRIX, also developed by Safran, integrated over the cockpit, which includes, in particular, a thermal imager, TV camera and laser indicator. Since the device’s entry into service in the mid-2000s, these sights have been gradually improved to adapt to technological developments in terms of optics and to support the evolution of the device’s weapon system.
Despite these progressive improvements, the STRIX and OSIRIS sights have not changed fundamentally. After the first architectural studies of the new Mk3 standard, Safran was asked to work on a new, much more modern solution, integrating increasingly efficient sensors, in a lighter envelope. Even if Germany has not yet joined the Mk3 program, this new sight should be placed both on the roof of the helicopter, replacing the STRIX, and above the propeller, instead of OSIRIS.
For a while, called the STRIX-NG, this new multi-purpose sight has finally been designated the Euroflir 510 to clearly indicate its affiliation with a new family of optical bulbs developed by Safran. In fact, the Euroflir 510 is actually presented as a 50% increased version of the Euroflir 410, which, among other things, has already been chosen to equip the future H160M Guépard French troops, but remaining lighter and more compact than the Euroflir 610, designed to equip the future European drone MALE.
Twelve sensors to see and shoot better
In terms of sensors, the Euroflir 510 follows in the footsteps of its “little older” Euroflir 410, but with more optics. Logically, the latter benefits from improved range and resolution compared to the Euroflir 410, as well as compared to the original STRIX, increasing the range of future missiles, providing the ability to accurately aim at fifteen kilometers.
Thus, a multispectral telescope with a very long focal length has a daylight identification system (TV channel), a low-visibility identification system (NIR – near infrared), a SWIR channel optimized for impaired visual environment (fog, smoke, etc.). ) and MWIR heat path (day / night identification). In addition, the Euroflir 510 has a wideband LWIR (long infrared) channel designed primarily for piloting and navigation.
Above the multispectral telescope, the module contains a laser rangefinder, a laser pointer, and a laser illuminator that acts as a visible flashlight with night vision binoculars. Other viewfinder sensors are located on the other three smaller glass surfaces. In particular, there are two continuous zooms in Full HD, one running in day mode (TV) and the other in thermal mode (MWIR), as well as a laser pointer compatible with all current weapons (Hellfire) and future (AKERON-LP and missiles) with laser guidance) Tiger. Finally, the Euroflir 510 now includes a Laser Spot Tracker, which makes it easier to identify and track laser markings made by other vectors.
As with the entire Euroflir range, Safran integrates software and algorithms into this new sight, which improves image quality and reduces the cognitive load of the crew. Data from various sensors are processed synthetically to provide a clear and accurate view of the environment, regardless of external conditions. Finally, in addition to optical sensors, the Euroflir 510 has its own inertial navigation unit. Thus, the sight has its own inertial landmark, which is used for more accurate aiming of the “Tiger”.