The T129 Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) is awaiting a final signature needed to launch its export to Pakistan. An export proposal for the helicopter has already been drawn up and submitted to authorities in Thailand.
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) General Manager Temel Kotil stated that Pakistan has agreed to purchase 30 ATAK helicopters, although formal procedures are still being completed. The company is soon expected to sign a purchase agreement with the Pakistani government, Kotil said.
He referred to Pakistani Prime Minister Shadid Khaqan Abbasi's visit to Turkey last month, when he, as a personal pilot, examined the T129 ATAK and took it on a test flight.
Afterwards, Abbasi reportedly said, "As a pilot, I can say that this is the best and the most effective attack helicopter in the world. The Pakistani Armed Forces has tested this helicopter for four years in all possible conditions and in its finest detail, and found it to be the number-one choice and the most successful [helicopter] in technical terms."
ATAK helicopters have so far recorded 12,000 flight hours, and the aim is to develop a homegrown engine and a domestically produced 20mm artillery system.
The T129 ATAK helicopter is a new generation, tandem, two-seat, twin-engine helicopter specifically designed for attack and reconnaissance.
Developed from the combat-proven AgustaWestland A129CBT, the new aircraft incorporates a new system philosophy with a new engine - LHTEC CTS 800-4A - new avionics, sight systems and weapons, modified airframe, uprated drive train and new tail rotor.
On the other hand, Kotil also highlighted that the Thailand Defense and Security Fair provided great opportunities for meeting with East Asian countries and expanding the influence of Turkish defense firms across the region, unleashing its great potential.
The general manager said that the countries in the region have significant defense needs, saying, "The unmanned armed vehicle (UAV) ANKA gained attention and we held meetings regarding the exporting of the vehicle with army officials as well as defense ministers."
"Turkish companies can assume responsibility for catering to the defense needs of the region and for contributing to relevant defense projects in those countries," he noted, emphasizing the importance of the presence of Turkish firms at the fair.
Kotil also informed that the TAI has held meetings with representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and South Korea to discuss opportunities for joint defense projects.
At the fair, the TAI also met with British partners to discuss and evaluate cooperative efforts for the domestic fighter jet TF-X project. The architectural process of the project continues and the production stage for the prototype will be launched, Kotil noted.
The tender for manufacturing of the engine will be organized by the TAI on behalf of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) and the chosen contractor for production of the engine will be clarified in January, according to Kotil.
The TAI is the largest defense and aviation industry exporter in the country for the sixth time in a row, according to Turkish Exporters Assembly's (TİM) evaluations for the year 2016.The TAI leads Turkey's efforts in aerospace technology and is ranked among the top-100 global players in aerospace and defense. The company has five areas of operation, including aero-structures, planes, helicopters, UAVs and space systems.
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