The T129 multirole attack helicopter is being developed jointly by AgustaWestland and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLF) under the attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter (ATAK) programme. The helicopter is based on the AW129 and its predecessor the A129 Mangusta.
In March 2007, the Turkish Armed Forces placed a $3bn contract with AgustaWestland for 51, plus 41 optional, A129 Mangusta helicopters to be assembled as the T-129 by TAI, the prime contractor for the ATAK programme.
Aselsan supplies avionics and mission equipment, while AgustaWestland acts as a subcontractor to TAI. The helicopters will be delivered to Turkey in two different configurations: TUC-1 and TUC-2.
T129 attack helciopter development
The development of the T129 commenced in July 2008. The system requirements review (SRR) and preliminary design review (PDR) were completed in 2009, and the maiden flight of the T-129 P1 prototype took place on 28 September 2009. On 19 March 2010, the prototype crashed during high-altitude hover tests near Verbania in northern Italy due to loss of power in its tail rotor. The first flight of the first Turkish prototype helicopter was completed at TAI’s facilities in Ankara on 17 August 2011.
In November 2010, Turkey placed a €150m contract with AgustaWestland for nine T129 attack helicopters, bringing the total number of orders to 60.
Azerbaijan, Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have all expressed interest in the T-129 helicopter.
T129 design features
The T129 features an aluminium alloy frame fitted to a five-bladed main rotor, a two-bladed tail rotor and wheeled landing gear.
Designed to operate in hot conditions, the T129 can be deployed in a wide range of operations including attack, reconnaissance and deterrent missions.
Stealth features and significant weapon systems allow the T129 to operate in complex battlefield environments and confined areas, and ballistic tolerance has been increased for high survivability. Capable of operating in day and night conditions, the helicopter is equipped with a laser rangefinder / designator, night vision (helmet-mounted display system) and an emergency locator transmitter (ELT).
Cockpit of the Turkish military helicopter
The digital cockpit of the T129 incorporates two colour multifunctional displays (MFD), keyboard display unit, Avionic Central Control Computer-ACCC (Dual) and a four-axis automatic flight control system (AFCS). It will accommodate two crew members.
The cockpit will also integrate an aircraft and mission management system (AMMS), weapon control units (WCU), flight data recorder (FDR), integrated INS/GPS (Dual)/Doppler navigation and an air vehicle monitoring system.
Armaments and weaponry on the T129 attack helicopter
The helicopter will have four hardpoints to carry a weaponry payload of 1,200kg. Its stub wing pylons can accommodate anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM), air-to-air missiles (ATAM), 70mm (2.75in) rockets and 70mm (2.75in) guided rockets.
A 20mm turreted three-barrel gun system will be fitted on a nose turret. Optional armament includes 12.7mm gun pods.
The defensive aids suite fitted on the T129 will include active and passive countermeasures systems such as the countermeasure dispensing system (CMDS), a missile warning system, laser warning system, radio frequency jammer, radar warning receiver and infrared countermeasures.
The T129 is powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines. Each engine can develop a power output of 1,014kW.
The T800-4A is an export variant of the CTS800 engine. It has a length of 0.85m, a diameter of 0.56m and weighs about 154kg.
The engines are equipped with the FADEC (full authority digital engine control) system.
FADEC reduces the workload of the pilot by controlling all aspects of the aircraft’s engine performance.
The T129 has a maximum cruise speed of 269km/h. The normal and ferry ranges of the helicopter are 561km and 1,000km respectively, and it can climb at a rate of 14m/s.
The service ceiling is 6,096m, maximum endurance is three hours and the maximum take-off weight of the aircraft is 5,000kg.
The Global Military Rotorcraft Market 2011-2021
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