PH Air Force to receive first Turkish attack helicopter this month

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The Philippines will receive its first T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter (ATAK) from Turkey this month, according to officials in the Southeast Asian country.

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Upgraded with the Aselsan-made IFF system, a T129 chopper maneuvers in this photo provided on May 28, 2021. | Photo by TAI

According to the incumbent chief of the Philippines’ air force, Lt. Gen. Allen Trio Paredes, the country has ordered six of the helicopters designed and developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), which will be delivered gradually beginning this December.

Paredes shared the news on his social media accounts.

The Philippines will be the first country outside of the region to use the ATAK, having purchased six choppers worth approximately $280 million (TL 3.37 billion).

In May, the United States approved export licenses to Turkey for the sale of a helicopter powered by an American engine to the Philippines.

On December 7, 2018, Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana announced that the country would initially purchase six T129 helicopters.

Following that, Ankara and Manila signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the sale of the choppers, which had been delayed due to the export license barrier.

The engines that power the T129 helicopters are produced by a joint venture between Honeywell and Rolls-Royce, and are known as the LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, which are mounted in pairs on each helicopter. Foreign companies are required to obtain export permits for military-grade commercial sales in the United States.

TAI has delivered 61 T129 ATAK helicopters to the Turkish Land Forces Command, Gendarmerie General Command, and General Directorate of Security so far.

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