TAI delivers first batch of T129 ATAK helicopters to Turkish Army
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered the first batch of T129 attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter (ATAK) to the Turkish Armed Forces.
With the latest delivery, the company has supplied nine T129 helicopters to Turkish military since April 2014.
Ordered under an early-entry urgent requirement, the A-model types are anticipated to be converted into B-models, Flightglobal reported.
TAI is to deliver a total of 60 helicopters as part of a $3bn contract awarded by the Turkish Armed Forces in March 2007. An additional 40 gunships remain on option, and will be manufactured, if necessary.
According to the company, the nine helicopters are currently being used effectively in operational theatres by the Turkish Land Forces.
The gunships are deployed by the army at its south-eastern military bases to support anti-terror operations against Kurdish militia fighting for autonomy, DefenseNews reported.
Developed in collaboration with AgustaWestland and Aselsan, the T129 multirole attack helicopter is a derivative of the AW129 and its predecessor the A129 Mangusta, and is engineered to operate in hot and high environments.
The helicopter features several key improvements over its predecessor, in line with the requirements of the Turkish Army, and can be deployed in a wide range of operations, including attack, reconnaissance, and deterrent missions.
Powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, the gunship boasts of 97% sovereign production, and is armed with UMTAS anti-tank missiles, 20mm gatling-style cannon, as well as Stinger air-air missile pods.
TAI claims that the helicopter is ready to address a range of new export opportunities and requirements in the global market.
The T-129 helicopter is said to have attracted interest from Azerbaijan, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and the UAE.
Image: A T129 attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter in flight. Photo: © 2015 TAI - Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc.