The Philippines Department of National Defense has denied receiving the first two TAI T129 ATAK Helicopters.
“Contrary to information circulating online, as of 9 January 2021 the first two units of TAI T129 ATAK Helicopters have not arrived in country. The DND will issue updates regarding the project as soon as they become available,” according to Director Arsenio R. Andolong, Spokesperson DND in a statement posted on the DND website.
Earlier reports in the Philippine media said:
Temel Kotil, general manager of TAI, told the Inquirer, a Philippine publication that the first two T129Bs were delivered on January 8.
In addition, Arsenio Andolong, spokesperson for the Department of National Defense (DND), previously said the next two units would be delivered in 2023, and the last two in 2024.
Once commissioned, the helicopters will be assigned to the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force.
In July 2020, the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) signed a contract for the acquisition of six T129B helicopters from TAI for P13.7 billion (US$280 million), through a government-to-government deal with the Turkish ministry of defense.
The T129B is a Turkish derivative of the Italian-designed AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta, but equipped with Turkish-developed systems and weapons.
Sale of the helicopter had been delayed with the United States reportedly holding up export clearance for the the LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines that power the T129B choppers. However the engine export was allowed to go through as the export amount was below $25million, the threshold required by law for congressional oversight that covers major defense sales with NATO allies.
The LHTEC T800-4A engine are made by a joint venture by American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce.