Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has delivered two T-129 ATAK attack helicopters to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
The 20th and 21st T-129s are expected to be in TSK service by the end of this month, Quwa reported today.
The TSK has to receive total 50 T-129s from the firm with an option for an additional 40 aircraft.
The T-129 is being deployed as a multi-mission platform capable of scouting/reconnaissance, anti-tank operations, and close air support (CAS) for infantry.
With nearly half of the current TSK order completed, several initiatives are underway to expand TAI’s T-129 activities.
Last year, TAI actively marketed the T-129 to Pakistan. A T-129 was sent to Pakistan for testing in June 2016, where it was examined for its hot-and-high and endurance performance. In November 2016, TAI stated that it was waiting for Pakistan to open negotiations. Last month, TAI’s CEO Temel Kotil claimed that a sale will be reached in the “coming months.”
Further, The T-129’s current powerplant, the LHTEC CTS800, was also selected for the TAI T-625 utility helicopter.
In May 2016, LHTEC began talks with Turkish investors to enable Turkish industry firms, such as TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI), to assemble CTS800 turboshaft engines as well as manufacture parts and manage its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) activities. The Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) also commissioned TEI to develop a domestic turboshaft engine for the T-129, T-625 and Hürkuş.
The T129 has several key improvements over the original A129 inline with the requirements of the Turkish Army. The T129 will carry 12 Roketsan-developed UMTAS anti-tank missiles (Turkish indigenous development similar to Hellfire II). It also features a 20 mm gatling-style cannon in a nose turret. It can carry a combination of 70 mm rocket pods, Stinger air-air missile pods, and gun pods on its stub wing pylons.