The T129 ATAK helicopter, which will take part in the Leading Latin American Defense and Security Exhibition (LAAD 2019) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on April 2-5, performed its first flight demonstration on Monday at the Forte Ricardo Kirk Army Aviation Command in Taubate.
The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ/TAI) Corporate Marketing and Communications President Tamer Özmen, TAI officials, Turkey's Consul General in São Paulo Serkan Gedik and Military Attaché in Brazil Serdar Apaydın attended the flight demonstration hosted by Brazilian Army Aviation Cmdr. Carlos Waldyr Aguira.
While the Brazilian press showed great interest in the demonstration, Brazilian pilots and military personnel who attended the ceremony were quite excited to see the performance of the pilots of the two countries.
Following the demonstration, 10 Brazilian pilots who flew the T129 ATAK helicopter were given a certificate of achievement and a model of the said helicopter by the TAI Corporate Marketing and Communication President Özmen who later told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they came to Brazil to attend the LAAD 2019 exhibition in Rio de Janeiro, while they planned flight demonstrations considering the needs of this country.
Özmen said they are planning another flight demonstration in the capital on March 28 with the participation of the Land Forces commander, the vice president, other state officials and military personnel.
"With the support of our ambassador in Brazil and the military attaché, we plan to land our helicopter in our embassy's garden and to introduce our company and T129 ATAK helicopter to all ambassadors and all military attachés," he added.
Özmen stated that they knew the Brazilian Army Aviation Command had no attack helicopter capabilities, along with their needs in this area.
"In relation to this issue which came up during the Army Aviation commander's visit to Turkey, we thought about how we could exist in this geography and realize this project," he continued. "They are planning to include attack helicopters to their inventory within a decade from 2020 to 2030. So that was an opportunity for us. We are here today, taking advantage of the LAAD fair. When we got here, we learned that this is the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Brazilian Army Aviation command. Therefore, we are more than proud and happy to be here on the 100th anniversary."
Tamer Özmen, expressing a wish to benefit from Brazil as a gateway to the Latin American market, noted that by combining the aviation and technology capabilities that exist in Brazil, they aim to bring their brand and the Turkish aerospace industry to this region.
"For the short term, we planned South East Asia and Latin America as a target market. We started cooperation with Argentina in the aerospace industry," he continued. "The Bolivian Air Force commander visited our company last week. In the coming period, Venezuela, Peru, and Colombia are all candidate countries. Latin America is located far from Turkey. We think that establishing a logistics, development, and technology center here can be included in our targets in the coming period."
Speaking to AA after the ceremony held at the Forte Ricardo Kirk Army Aviation Command, Brazilian Army Aviation Cmdr. Carlos Waldyr Aguira stressed that the ability of this aircraft to meet their expectations may provide for the possible purchase of other attack vehicles in the future.
"Who knows, maybe we can build a partnership even in this aircraft in the future. I wish you great fortune in your task in Brazil and your performances in Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. You will always be very warmly welcomed by Forte Ricardo Kirk Army Aviation Command. We always see you as our future partners. God bless you," he concluded.