Pakistan to Buy 30 Turkish Attack Helicopters T129

Pakistan has entered into an agreement to acquire 30 T129 attack helicopters from the Turkish company TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries). Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. is the center of technology in design, development, manufacturing, integration of aerospace systems, modernization and after sales support in Turkey.

With the new Turkish T129 helicopters, as well as with the American AH-1Z Viper company Bell, Pakistan expects to strengthen its combat aviation fleet, currently consisting of Russian Mi-35 helicopters and American AH-1 Cobra.

"The AH-1 helicopters provided effective support for our ground forces involved in counterinsurgency operations, but they can not be effectively used in high-altitude operations above 2,440 meters," said the army commander Major General Nasir Shah on January 31 at an international conference on military helicopters in London.

The Turkish helicopter T129, built on the basis of the variant A129CBT, which has been in service with the Italian army since 2002, apparently inspired the Pakistani army with its new engines, tail rotor, modified glider and displays, and improved transmission, avionics and weapons.

Turkey positions T129 as a highly effective alternative to helicopters built in the US and Russia. However, only Pakistan and Bahrain have shown real interest in these combat aircrafts as yet. It is possible that after the first export contract, TAI will have other customers, but so far there have been no official comments on this matter. The exact dates of delivery of T129 to Pakistan are yet to be revealed.

By Dimitri Dolaberidze

08 June 2018 11:09