The first batch of two of the six Turkish-made T129 ATAK attack helicopters ordered for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has been delivered at Clark Air Base, in Mabalacat City, Pampanga. The two helicopters along with its initial logistics support arrived onboard two A400M tactical transporters of the Turkish Air Force, the PAF said.
A total of six units of the T129 were acquired as part of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Plan – Horizon 2 under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act. The deal includes logistics support and training of PAF pilots and crew in Turkey.
A PAF spokesman said the two T-129 helicopters and its initial logistics support arrived March 9 around 12.30am at Clark Air Base. He said there was no definate dates for the arrival of the other four helicopters. The ATAK helicopters will complement the existing two units of strike capable helicopters in the PAF’s fleet include Agusta Westland AW109 and McDonnel Douglas MG520 in support of the numerous missions carried out by the armed forces.
It was reported that the PAF 15th Strike Wing will operate the T-129 helicopters which will be used for close air support for ground troops and, armed surveillance and reconnaissance.
The T129 is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter designed for attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract for the acquisition of the Turkish attack helicopters in July 2020. The helicopters were acquired for a total contract price of USD269,388,862 (about PHP12.9 billion then) from the Turkish Aerospace Industries through a government-to-government procurement process.– shp/nal/mgm (Image: PAF)