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10:26 AM, December 4, 2018
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T129 ATAK (image: KissPNG)

The United States (US) has denied Turkey a certificate to export the Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC) helicopter engines as part of a deal by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to sell 30 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan.

The TAI was to produce 30 T129 ATAK Multipurpose helicopters for Pakistan following a $1.5 billion deal inked between the two nations in July, after four-year negotiations ended.

US Department of Defense, however, has denied Turkey an export license required for the US-made LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines that are meant to power the aircraft, RT news reported Friday.

“This is not a technological or financial matter but is purely political at the moment,” a senior Turkish procurement official was quoted by the RT News as saying to the Defense News this August.

Pakistan and Turkey have now agreed to seek a replacement variant for the engines, possibly from France or Poland, Turkey’s Hurriyet reported Thursday. The LHTEC-Rolls Royce engines were tested on the T129 to conform to Pakistani demands in 2016. TAI hopes it will be able to complete the contract in five years, the newspaper reported.

The US penalised Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 long-range air defense systems in defiance of Washington’s warnings, a senior Turkish defense official told Russia’s TASS news agency during the IDEAS 2018 arms expo in Pakistan’s Karachi this week.

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