Turkey To Export T129 Helos To Philippines Despite Block On Pakistani Order

The president of TAI announced in April that his company had won U.S. Export licenses to sell a batch of six helicopter gunships to the Philippines. But only a month earlier, Turkey’s persistent requests for the same export license to sell the same helicopters to Pakistan were going nowhere.

“Based on the latest developments, we are expecting the first two units of T129 attack helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to be delivered this September,” Philippine Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement. However, a source with TAI told Defense News the first deliveries are planned for November.먹튀사이트

The department reported that two more helicopters will be delivered in February 2022 and the final two in 2023, with Andolong telling the official Philippine News Agency that the helicopters will cost $269 million under a government-to-government contract.

The 5-ton T129 is a twin-engine multirole attack helicopter originally produced under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland and based on the A129 Mangusta. AgustaWestland is now Leonardo Helicopters following a name change; the company is Italian but has an operation in the U.K. The aircraft is powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, each of which can produce 1,014 kilowatts of output power.

The T129s will be part of the Philippine Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing, whose pilots and crew will be undergoing training on the helicopter at the TAI headquarters in Ankara between May and August, TAI and PAF announced separately.

The aircraft will be the first dedicated attack helicopter operated by the Philippines, and the 15th Strike Wing will fly them alongside its MD530G light attack and Leonardo A109 armed transport helicopters. The country previously used its armed helicopters in operations against a number of insurgencies — with which it is currently contending — mostly on its southernmost islands where separatist and Islamic State-linked militants are active.

What’s the problem in Pakistan?

n March, Pakistan agreed to, yet again, extend a deal with Turkey for T129 Atak helicopters — a planned procurement riddled with delays. Top Turkish officials said TAI obtained a six-month extension from Pakistan.

In 2018, Pakistan chose the T129 to replace its fleet of AH−1F Cobra gunships that were acquired in the 1980s. Pakistan signed a $1.5 billion contract with TAI for 30 T129 helos; however, the company first had to secure U.S. Export licenses before delivery could take place.

The T800-4A engine for the helicopter is an export version of the CTS800 engine. LHTEC, the maker of the engine, is a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce.

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