Pakistan’s potential purchase of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK attack helicopters has reached the financial negotiation stage.
“It is in the pipeline … [the process is] 90 percent complete,” and that the matter proceeded to financial proposals, which are being examined by Pakistan, Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain was quoted as saying by Quwa Sunday.
Rana Tanveer Hussain was an official two-day visit (24-26 November) to Turkey in a bid to review ongoing bilateral defence programs.
On November 25, the MoDP informed Turkey’s state-owned new agency Anadolu Agency that Pakistan’s potential purchase of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK attack helicopters and four MILGEM (Milli Gemi: National Warship) naval vessels were major subjects of discussion on his current visit.
Pakistan selected the T129 ATAK helicopter over the Chinese Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-10. 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.
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 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.