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Rheinmetall and Thales have signed an agreement to mutually support future development, qualification and production of a range of 70mm (2.75in) guided and unguided rocket solutions for helicopters, as well as potentially other new platforms in Germany, the companies announced on 8 January.

Thales 70mm (2.75in) rocket systems are currently operated on the TIGER helicopter and are undergoing certification on the H145M. As part of the new agreement, Rheinmetall Waffe Munition GmbH will lead the joint approach to the German market, using its wide experience as a major supplier to the Bundeswehr to ensure future requirements are met.

The agreement strengthens the existing relationship between Thales and Rheinmetall in this field, as other members of Rheinmetall Group are already working in collaborative integration programmes with Thales, such as the Rheinmetall Canada MISSION MASTER unmanned ground vehicle.

Together, Rheinmetall and Thales offer significant complementary capabilities, especially in the context of the TIGER MK3 programme, in which features such as ‘Lockon-Before-Launch’ mode, additional communications between rocket and platform, identification, remote control are all being integrated.

"The multi-decade experience and quality of the Thales 70mm rockets fit perfectly to Rheinmetall's activities to provide the users in Germany with the best products. The Thales portfolio in this domain is complementary to the current Rheinmetall technical portfolio. This gives the opportunity to combine forces, but more important gives the user direct access to products, meeting the highest requirements on effectiveness, accuracy and safety. And that is our mission," commented Torsten Böhm, Senior Vice President Business Development and Sales for Rheinmetall Waffe Munition.

This strengthening of the collaboration in Germany between Thales and Rheinmetall is good news for both groups. We will provide our expertise with the 70mm (2.75in) rocket systems, which equip already many platforms in the world, and Rheinmetall the knowledge of the German customer. This is a true win-win, at a time when Airbus Helicopters is developing its TIGER MK3 version,” added Stéphane Bianchi, director of the airborne armament business segment at Thales.

An Airbus Helicopters H145M test-firing Thales FZ275 laser-guided rockets in Sweden in 2017. (Photo: Airbus Helicopters)

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