Pakistan Opts for T129 ATAK for its Challenging Geography

4 Eylül 2018
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The special coverage published in the 58th issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review (TDR) is below:

 

The Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) announced on July 13 that Pakistan had selected the T129 ATAK to satisfy its requirement for a next generation attack helicopter. An agreement concluded between Turkey and Pakistan foresees the sale of 30 T129 ATAK helicopters to the latter, making Pakistan the second user of the platform after Turkey. The T129 is very well suited to Pakistan’s challenging geography – featuring high elevations and high temperatures.

The contract for the sale of the 30 helicopters was signed following long negotiations  between Turkish Aerospace and Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production, and includes also logistics, spare parts, training and ammunition components.

In the official announcement, the SSM said: “Designed for challenging climates and geographical conditions, and equipped with next-generation mission and weapon systems, the T129 ATAK Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter offers the highest performance and manoeuvrability in its class, and has already entered the inventories of the Turkish Armed Forces and the Ministry of Interior. These features make ATAK one of the most significant players in the global market.

The T129 ATAK helicopter was subjected to comprehensive tests by the Pakistan Army, both in Turkey and in Pakistan, and passed all tests with great success, proving once again that it is the most effective attack helicopter in its class in the world. The contract is the largest ever single defence procurement in the history of the Republic of Turkey.”

Although no details were given about the cost and duration of the contract in the announcement, a contract value of some $1.5 billion has been mentioned in articles published by the Anadolu News Agency.

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Turkish Aerospace and Pakistani teams together at the tests conducted in Pano Aqil in 2016.

T129 ATAK Proves Itself

Having already entered the inventories of the Turkish Land Forces and Gendarmerie General Command, the T129 ATAK is continuing to serve successfully in Turkey’s antiterrorism and border security operations, and is making its mark as a combat-proven platform. As of June, a total of 35 ATAK helicopters were in service in Turkey, and the helicopter has taken part in special demos and participated at such international events as the EFES Exercise to show its capabilities.

Pakistan is one of the countries with the highest level of information about the capabilities of T129 ATAK, which was put through its paces in the challenging geography of Pakistan between May 21 and 31, 2016, passing all tests with flying colours. The T129 test campaign schedule was as follows:

  • The T129 ATAK conducted its first flight in Pakistan in the city of Multan at around noon, when temperatures were around 47°C.
  • The next stop for the helicopter was Pano Aqil, where it performed its tasks successfully at temperatures of up to 50°C.
  • The third testing point of the T129 ATAK in Pakistan was the city of Quetta, located in the foothills of the Himalayas. Here, the helicopter proved its ability to carry out its missions meeting all requirements at a temperature of 23°C and an altitude of 14,000 ft.
  • On its way back from Quetta to Multan, the T129 flew for 480 km without refuelling. After the 2 hour 40 minute flight, there was still sufficient fuel in the tank for a further 33-minute flight.

Pakistani officials had the chance to witness closely the strike power of T129 ATAK during the tests conducted in Karapınar, Turkey in November 2016. The tests, which involved firing both laser-guided missiles and electro-optical guided missiles, showed the effectiveness of the helicopter against armoured targets.

In tests conducted at 23°C at an altitude of 14,000 ft, the T129 ATAK proved its ability to carry out missions in the Himalayas successfully.

In tests conducted at 23°C at an altitude of 14,000 ft, the T129 ATAK proved its ability to carry out missions in the Himalayas successfully.

 

The Final Link in Turkish Aerospace-Pakistan Collaboration

The project is not the first in Turkish Aerospace’s cooperation with Pakistan, as the avionic upgrades and structural modernisation of the F-16 aircraft in the inventory of the Pakistan Air Force were carried out at Turkish Aerospace’s facilities under a contract signed in 2009. The final four aircraft modernised under the project, in which Pakistan Air Force staff were also involved and which covered a total of 41 aircraft, were delivered in 2014.

As an additional component of this cooperation, PAC Kamra has produced parts for the ANKA unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), with the first part delivered at a ceremony held during IDEF 2013.

This sale of T129 ATAK helicopters expands this cooperation to include also the many Turkish companies whose systems and components are integrated onto the T129 ATAK, and which will continue to be so in the years to come.

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