ATAK helicopters deal 90 pct complete, Pakistani minister says

Published 27.11.2017 00:00
Updated 27.11.2017 01:42
ATAK helicopters deal 90 pct complete, Pakistani minister says

Following recent reports of Pakistan's interest in Turkey's T129 Advanced Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK), Pakistan's Defense Production Minister Rana Tanvir Hussein announced on Saturday that the "selling process was 90 percent complete" for 39 T129 ATAK helicopters.

The Pakistani minister, who is currently holding talks in Ankara, emphasized bilateral ties and a long-standing business relationship between Pakistan and Turkey.

"The selling process for the helicopters is 90 percent complete," Hussein said, underscoring that proposals were being examined and financial aspects were being evaluated.

He also stated that in the framework of the MİLGEM (National Ship) Project, four ships will be manufactured for Pakistan - two in Turkey and two in Karachi.

"Turkey will also receive 52 'Super Mushshak' training aircraft from Pakistan," he said. "Many countries are using this aircraft, which is very good for basic training."

Hussein said that Turkey is also examining the issue of acquiring Pakistan's domestically produced JF-17 warplane.

Previously, 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 also 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."

Noting that the ATAK is a very impressive helicopter, Abbasi thanked the TAI general manager and his team, as well as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

At the time he said, "At this point, our contract talks continue at full speed. Everything is moving ahead positively. Hopefully, we will purchase this helicopter and bring it into the inventory of the Pakistan Armed Forces as soon as possible."

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 for it.

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 - the LHTEC CTS 800-4A - new avionics, sight systems and weapons, modified airframe, an uprated drive train and a new tail rotor.

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