Turkish Army Using New Attack Helicopters While Maker Seeks Exports

 - August 18, 2015, 12:14 PM
A pair of T129s newly delivered to the Turkish Army formate over water. (photo: TAI)

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has completed delivery of the first batch of nine T129 Atak helicopters to the Turkish Army. They are “now being used effectively in operational theaters” according to the company. Turkey has recently renewed military action against Kurdish separatists in the southeast of the country, after a cease-fire broke down.

These nine are T129A early development helicopters (EDHs) that were ordered in late 2010 for speedier introduction than the definitive T129B, of which 50 are scheduled for delivery to the Turkish Army. The T129As are armed only with the 20mm gun and unguided rockets. The T129Bs will also carry missiles and guided rockets and more sophisticated mission avionics. According to TAI, the T129 is “the most advanced combat helicopter in its class.” The T129 is a substantially upgraded version of the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta flown by the Italian Army. The Anglo-Italian OEM granted further development and marketing rights for this helicopter to TAI in 2007.

TAI said there is “strong international interest” in the T129, but it is still seeking a first export customer. The company said it will send one to Poland this weekend for the military airshow at Radom airbase, followed by demonstrations in Warsaw. The T129 is a candidate for Poland’s attack helicopter requirement.