TURKISH AEROSPACE Industries (TAI) has now delivered three T129A ATAK attack helicopters to the Türk Kara Kuvvetleri Komutanliği’na (Turkish Land Forces Command) out of an initial batch of nine Early Development Helicopters (EDH) variants on order. The three were handed over at Guvercinlik, the Army Aviation’s main training facility on June 10, 2014 They are believed to comprise prototype, P4 (29804), the first EDH (EDH-1); P5 (29805)/EDH-2/ATAK-1, and EDH-3 (29808)/ATAK-2. One more will follow shortly and the last five EDHs will be delivered by the end of the year according to TAI.
“The EDHs are basic helicopters, fitted with a 20mm gun and unguided rockets. They will not carry laser guided weapons and the electronic warfare specification is different from the T129Bs,” according to TAI’s Gorkem Bilgi from TAI’s Integrated Helicopter Systems.
Some 28 TKK pilots and 85 technicians have already been trained at TAI’s Flight School on the T-129, with all of the flying training being carried out by prototype P6. TAI continues to explore export orders and there are a number of future potential customers in the GCC and CIS.
The T-129 is based on the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta and has been developed to meet Turkish Land Forces (TKK) requirements. The TKK ordered 51 (which includes a prototype) of the T129B variant, with options on a further 41, under a contract signed on September 7, 2007. The order for nine interim T129As represented exercising of options on the original contract, thus cutting the outstanding options down to 32. Alan Warnes