MANILA: Philippine is set to receive its first batch of two T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter (ATAK) in December 2021.
Philippines Air Force chief, Lt Gen Allen Trio Paredes said the country has ordered six of the helicopters designed and developed by Turkish Aerospace and should be delivered in stages following schedule. Estimated overall cost of the programme is estimated at $280 million. The Philippine Air Force would be the first overseas user of the ATAK.
The first batch of the T129 ATAK pilots and crew, who left the Philippines in May for Ankara, Turkey, completed their training in September.
Earlier in May 2021, the United States approved export licenses to Turkey for the sale of the helicopter which will be powered by an American engine, to the Philippines.
Philippine Defence Minister Delfin Lorenzana announced on Dec 7, 2018, that the country would initially purchase six T129 helicopters as it seeks to modernise its helicopter fleet.
Subsequently, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Ankara and Manila for the sale of the choppers, which had been delayed due to the export license barrier.
A joint venture by American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce produces the engines powering the T129 helicopters, namely the LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, which are mounted in pairs on each helicopter.
Turkish Aerospace has so far delivered a total of 61 T129 ATAK helicopters to the Turkish Land Forces Command, the Gendarmerie General Command and the General Directorate of Security. –shp/kf/aaa (PHOTO : Internet)