Philippines to receive first 2 T129B ATAK attack helicopters before yearend

 

The TAI T129 ATAK attack helicopter.



The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is expected to receive its first batch of two new T129B ATAK attack helicopters from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) before the end of 2021.

According to the Philippine defense page MaxDefense Philippines also reported on 23 May 2021 that the Philippine Air Force is expected to receive the first batch of two T129B ATAK attack helicopters on or before November 2021, in time for the founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on December 2021.

It also mentioned that the second batch of two helicopters are scheduled for delivery by 2022, and the final batch of two helicopters are to be delivered by 2023.

In addition, a social media post from the Philippine Air Force on 22 May 2021 mentioned that the service is sending pilots and technicians to Turkey for training from May to August 2021 to prepare in operating the new attack helicopters.

The Philippines Department of National Defense reportedly signed the contract to acquire six T129B ATAK attack helicopters from Turkish Aerospace Industries in 2020, but the deal was affected by the failure by TAI to secure an export license from the US Government for American-made LHTEC CTS800-4N turboshaft engines.

Reports from Turkish media outlets mentioned that TAI’s Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Communications Tamer Ozman made a confirmation that the US State Department has recently approved the export license for the LHTEC engines for T129 helicopters for the Philippines, and that paperwork was already released.

So far, the US and Turkish Governments has not made any comment or statements to support TAI’s claims.

The Philippine Air Force has allocated PHP13.8 billion (US$276 million) for the acquisition of six attack helicopters as part of its modernization program between 2018 to 2022. 

Other options considered were the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian and the Bell AH-1Z Viper, both of which were said to be more expensive than the TAI T129B ATAK.

The Philippines also received an offer for Turkey to finance additional helicopters, believed to be between 6 to 18 more units, as the PAF pushes to replaces its ageing fleet of McDonnell Douglas MD-520MG Defender light attack helicopters.




[1]
MaxDefense Philippines
[2] Daily Sabah
[3] Philippine Defense Resource


Philippines to receive first 2 T129B ATAK attack helicopters before yearend Philippines to receive first 2 T129B ATAK attack helicopters before yearend Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on May 24, 2021 Rating: 5

1 comment

  1. The options should be another batch of 6 units, to make it for 1 squadron, it should be an option for the PAF, to avoid further delay and not increasing the price per unit.

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