German Navy to get 31 Sea Tiger helicopters

The German Navy will get new helicopters for its frigates. To be known as Sea Tiger helicopters, they will be mainly used in the fight against submarines and ships.

Illustration. NH90. Courtesy of NATO

The German Bundestag has awarded around EUR 2.7 billion ($3.2 billion) for the acquisition of a total of 31 multi-role helicopters.

The Sea Tiger is based on the NATO frigate helicopter NH-90, as the naval multi-role helicopter Sea Lion.

 The new helicopters will be equipped for various operational roles. In addition to the multi-role helicopters, the contracts also include equipment, spare parts and training materials.

Starting from the end of 2025, the Sea Tigers are to replace the Sea Lynx Mk88A units that have been in service since the 1980s.

The new Sea Tigers will be the Bundeswehr’s only multi-role combat helicopters in the future. For frigates, they provide protection from enemy attacks at close range. Armed with torpedoes or guided missiles, the helicopters are used both in submarine hunting and to combat ships. In addition, they can be used for transportationt tasks as well as search and rescue missions.

As with the Sea Lion helicopter, the NH-90 naval frigate helicopter (NFH) forms the structural basis for the new multi-role capable helicopters. The Bundeswehr expects this to provide benefits in terms of training and maintenance as well as the stocking of operating materials and spare parts. 

The multi-role Sea Tiger is primarily designed and equipped for combat tasks, while the Sea Lion is primarily optimized for sovereign search and rescue as well as transport tasks.

In June this year, the German Navy started flight operations with the first new NH90 naval transport helicopter (NTH) Sea Lion.

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In total, eighteen Sea Lions are ordered by the navy, with deliveries expected to be completed in 2022.