Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) last week unveiled a preliminary prototype of its all-electric, unmanned, six-ton T629 attack helicopter. The aircraft is expected to make its first flight later this year.
The T629 is intended to be used as a platform for search and rescue, anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare, and to support Turkey's existing manned T129 ATAK helicopters by flying utility and reconnaissance missions. Similar in silhouette to the two-seat ATAK model, which is also manufactured by government-owned TAI, the T629 has been under development since 2017 and will be capable of carrying anti-tank and unguided missiles. TAI has not disclosed any details about the new aircraft's electric propulsion system or other technology used for the prototype.
The T129 is based on the Leonardo A129 Mangusta helicopter and fitted with upgraded engines, transmissions, and rotor blades for better high/hot performance and well as avionics and weapons systems developed in Turkey. The country is using the aircraft domestically and offering the aircraft for export with the locally-produced TS1400 engines to get around U.S. weapons embargoes pertaining to the original LHTEC CTS800-4N engine developed by Rolls-Royce and Honeywell.