Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) will hand over the first batch of T-129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter (ATAK) to the Philippines next month.
Manila has six T-129s on order. These rotorcraft were purchased for a total contract price of $270 million (about PHP12.9 billion) from TAI through a government-to-government mode of procurement under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract for the acquisition of the Turkish attack helicopters in July last year.
The remaining aircraft will be delivered gradually as of December, Philippine Air Force (PAF) commander Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes was quoted as saying by government-owned Philippine News Agency earlier this week.
The T129 is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions. The PAF is looking to acquire dedicated but affordable attack helicopters to beef up its fleet of lightly-armed helicopters, such as the MG-520 and AW-109E, which are being used for counter-terror and ground support missions.