Pakistan may have selected the Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) T129 ATAK helicopter over the Chinese Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-10 and sales negotiations are expected to start soon.
Both helicopters’ manufacturers were in the race to supply the Pakistan Army with a light attack helicopter in excess of 50 units with an initial negotiation involving 30 choppers. Three Z-10 helicopter gunship has been undergoing user trials since 2015 while the Pakistan Army put the T129 ATAK through rigorous hot-and-high performance tests starting June 2016.
Reports in various media said the performance of the T129 met the parameters set out by the Pakistan Army but the Chinese Z-10 helicopter did not as its engine is not powerful enough to support the helicopter in its attack configuration. The helicopter is fitted with two WZ-9 turboshaft engines that prevent Z-10 from carrying its maximum payload in attack configuration, the reports said.
Turkish sources at the Paris Air Show last week said that the deal with Pakistan “is all but sewn up” with the Pakistani authorities ready to begin commercial negotiations. Pakistan wants to be able to manufacture parts as well as assemble the chopper in its Pakistan Aeronautics Complex (PAC) facility.
Significantly, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa had visited TAI while on an official visit to Turkey last week where he inspected and flew in the TAI T129 ATAK attack helicopter, according to a Pakistani MoD press release.
At IDEF 2017 show in Turkey in May, TAI and PAC had signed a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) followed by the visit to Pakistan by TAI chief Dr.
Temel Kotil, who reiterated TAI’s commitment to enable PAC to manufacture parts for the T129 and possibly assemble T129 ATAKs.
The T129 is an upgraded variant of the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta with Turkish companies such as Aselsan, Roketsan and Havelsan having developed weapons and subsystems for the chopper.
Turkey will possibly sell its T129 helicopters, which were acquired from AugustaWestland, to Pakistan. Speaking at an event hosted by İstanbul Düşünce Vakfı (Istanbul Thought Foundation), Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) General Manager Temel Kotil said that TAI is actively working to land a T-129 sale with Pakistan,
The Chinese army has finished equipping its ground force aviation units with advanced WZ-10 combat helicopters. Several WZ-10s have been delivered to an aviation brigade of the PLA 13th Group Army under the Western Theater Command, the China military's TV news channel report was quoted by
Pakistan is in talks with Turkey to buy T129 multi-role T129 attack helicopters. “One of the most important issues between [the two countries] is a deal for T129 attack helicopters,” Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency at a joint press conference after meeting his Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif in Islamabad Friday
Pakistan has received three Chinese Z-10 attack helicopters to replace its American Cobra helicopter. As per a contract in January this year, China has transferred three Z-10 "Thunderbolt" attack helicopters to Pakistan, which has become China's staunchest ally and largest weapons buyer, Popular Science reported
TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) and AgustaWestland announce on June 11 that the Turkish Armed Forces have taken delivery of their first “T129 ATAK” Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter on 22nd of April 2014. This delivery, celebrated during an official ceremony on June 10th, is the first of 59 helicopters, 9 in T129A Early Delivery Helicopter (EDH) configuration, and 50 in T129B configuration
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