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TAI General Manager confident of a T-129 sale to Pakistan
August 16, 2017
The Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129. Photo credit: TAI.

TAI General Manager confident of a T-129 sale to Pakistan

Speaking at an event hosted by İstanbul Düşünce Vakfı (Istanbul Thought Foundation), Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) General Manager Temel Kotil reportedly said he was confident of the T-129 ATAK attack helicopter’s export prospects.

As per the Milliyet, Kotil confirmed that TAI is able to export the T-129, particularly its CTS800 turboshaft (developed by Honeywell and Rolls-Royce), indicating that the company has the requisite export licenses.

Kotil added that TAI is actively working to land a T-129 sale with Pakistan. A T-129 was sent to Pakistan for tests in June 2016, in which its hot-and-high and endurance capabilities were examined.

Kotil reportedly claimed that TAI “will sell [T-129s] to Pakistan in the coming months.”

TAI acquired the T-129 from AgustaWestland as part of the Turkish Armed Forces’ (TSK) requirement for new attack helicopters in 2008. The platform’s production was entirely transferred to Turkey.

Aselsan and Roketsan are providing the T-129’s onboard electronics and munitions, respectively. The Turkish company Meteksan is testing a millimeter wave radar for the T-129.

Notes & Comments:

TAI and the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) view Pakistan as a major prospective client, one that can provide the T-129 a strong “reference” for the aircraft, TAI and the Turkish defence industry. However, Pakistan’s ability to fund big-ticket defence hardware is relatively strained, requiring prospective suppliers to sell on affordability and term-based financing.

SSM cited the lack of financing mechanisms as an obstacle to its big-ticket defence exports. With Turkey aiming to become a defence and aerospace exporter, Ankara has offered to pilot financing with Pakistan. Turkey agreed to extend a USD $400 million loan for Pakistan’s purchase of four MILGEM corvettes.

During the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS), which took place in Karachi in November, TAI and SSM officials told MSI Turkish Defence Review that T-129 talks with Pakistan progressed. TAI said that Pakistan was satisfied with the T-129’s performance and weapons package (offered by Roketsan), and that it was upon Islamabad to call for formal negotiations.

It is not clear where matters currently stand. Temel Kotil’s statements could be taken to suggest that the deal is now progressing to negotiations (for aircraft quantity, configuration, munitions and maintenance package), but it is not conclusively different than what had already been said at IDEAS. In other words, it could simply mean that TAI is confident a sale could happen “in months” provided negotiations are initiated – there are no official statements from either side indicating the start of negotiations.

In parallel, Pakistan is also continuing with its purchase of Bell Helicopters AH-1Z from the U.S. Of the 15 helicopters approved by the U.S. State Department, Pakistan has thus far ordered 11 aircraft. The AH-1Z will begin supplanting the Pakistan Army’s ageing AH-1F/S. The Army is also trialing the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation Z-10. Four Mi-35s from Russia are also on order.

  • آصف اقبال

    Didn’t they already order 40 during IDEAS?

    • Nope. Radio Pakistan got that information from an unverifiable source.

  • nawaf saqib

    I dont know what are the specific requirements of Pakistan Army Aviation. But looking at the broad purchasing of different variant of Attack Helicopters does make sense.

    Buying and Evaluating T-129, Z-10, AH-1Z, MI-35M, and Mi-28NE. Looking at these option, it seems that all these assets will be playing different roles when called upon. My best advice would be to stick to one source of weapons supplier. Russian would be the best option for the attach helicopters as they provide the MI-35M, Mi28NE and KA-52. All these assets have proven their worth over time. By going to a single supplier for your needs gives you an advantage to control the costs, similar engines and parts for the different assets. I guess Mi-35M, and KA-52 use the same engines and some common parts are interchangeable between Mi-35M and Mi-28NE. Also, THe Army Aviation uses many Russian Utility helicopters and are familiar with their technology. So using the Russian attack helicopters would be the smartest choice… Then again i will say that the Army Aviation knows whats best for them.

    • Sami Shahid

      T-129 , AH-1z and WZ-10 are almost same but T-129 was proved to be better than WZ-10 and AH-1z is expensive. MI-35 is a multi role helicopter and it should not be related with a basic gunship.

      • nob hamid gul

        Gunship helicopters are not basic. They are dedicated attack hekicopter against the conventional state to state war.
        Mi35 is for special/intelligence/strike borne operation as it can transfer troops and has good armoured defence against the anti air machine Gun.

    • mazhar

      Russian are reluctant in providing millimeter wave radar which is now necessary in attack helis. PA aviation was interested in Mi28NE due to its dual pilot capabilities but we have not heard any news regarding any Russian hardware acquisitions after MI-35, so I am not that hopeful with Russia. Z-10 and T-129 both are being offered with millimeter band radar, T-129 proved to be a better platform than Z-10 and I am sure Chinese had been fed back on test results. Chinese will definitely improve Z-10 and Pakistan can go back to China anytime to purchase it. With T-129 purchase, we still have leverage to Western technology and due to Turkey, it will be sanctions proof.

      • Superior Shakeel

        You are absolutely mistaken that if we buy from Turkey we won’t be sanctioned everything turkey is selling is either a licensed or JV with western company their TFX will use rolls Royce engines this is as western it gets .

        Turkey is a NATO member don’t ever forget that they are more of a Western puppet than any other nation I seriously don’t understand this delsuion regarding turkey they don’t have any value or say in geopolitical level stick with china and nurture more robust relation with them and move towards JV with them .

        • mazhar

          We never bought weapons from Turkey, even if we acquire T-129, time will tell if sanctions are thrown at us for these choppers but currently I am sure Turkey has these pionts in their mind and Pak Army will also confirm that spare parts will be available.

        • nob hamid gul

          You seriously need to study AttaTurk/mil regime Turkey and AK party Turkey.

          ” Turkey don’t have any value or say in geopolitics ”
          You seriously need to come out from jealousy.?
          You sound Like Indian.

          turkey maintains the world’s 5th largest diplomatic relations. It is one of the few country who is independent in automobile/shipbuding/military equipment.
          By its location, it naturally own the importance in geopolitics.
          Turkey maintains very Good relation with some of the most important countries like European middle East/central asia/USA/Pakistan.
          With the membership of G20 It is the 17th largest economy in the world.

          Turkey host the most refugees and contribute to humanitarian effort more than any other country by gdp%

          Turkey is one of the main peace player in Syria Iraq middle east and Africa’s a

          Turkey is seen as one of the potential candidate for the permanent membership of the security council.

    • nob hamid gul

      Attack Helicopter are vital for the Pakistan’s counter doctrine against the larger and quick Indian armoured thrust into Pakistani Territory. This is why Pakistan is desperately looking for helis.

      As far as the platform is concerned, I belive that along with Ah1z viper Pakistan should go either for a Chinese or Turkish Platform as they are trusted supplier of strategic equipments like Ew/ecm/MMW
      Mi35 will be procured in small numbers. I think NOT more than 15

      T-129 vs Z10? The requirement of Pakistan is to get a dedicated attack platform with high service ceilings, advance subsystem, Munitions and heavy Payload.

    • Ahmad Shah Durrani

      Different vendor/countries makes Pakistan less immune to sanctions if we went with only country. The TAI T-129 are good Attack Helicopter Gunships and we should buy 50+ for Pakistan Army. may be we can also license built them in Pakistan.

  • Omar Dar

    I love Turkey but this deal doesn’t make much sense. The Mi-35 and the AH-1Z are already on order. The z-10 is also being evaluated and it should be ordered in view of its capabilities and china being a reliable supplier. I think ordering the T-129 will stretch the logistics unnecessarily.

    • Sami Shahid

      We are buying just 9 AH-1z vipers and we need 31 more to upgrade our attack fleet because our AH-1F cobra’s have become obsolete now. We should not go for more AH-1z because they are expensive and T-129 was proved to be better than Z-10.

      • Omar Dar

        I think the AH-1Z deal is for 15 helicopters and 9 of them have been ordered so far, with the rest to follow. And the 1 billion dollars also includes support and about 1000 hellfire missiles. So it looks ok to me.

        With regards to the T-129, it can still be affected by USA as for example its engines have to be cleared for re-export by American authorities. Having the WZ-10 allows much more independence and Pakistan can develop it according to its own requirements.

        According to my understanding, Pakistan was able to develop the JF-17 because it operated the F-6 extensively and helped develop it. This type of cooperation is only available in the Pak-China relationship because China has the funds and Pakistan has the expertise.

        • Sami Shahid

          Yes Pakistan can produce WZ-10 locally…its a good option. Yes Pakistan ordered 15 AH-1z vipers but because it is expensive so Pakistan could only buy 9.

  • Sami Shahid

    Pakistan should not waste its time for the US and should simply buy T-129 from Turkey as T-129 was proved to be better then WZ-10.

    • Khan Majeed

      Yes, this will be the right approach.

    • Superior Shakeel

      The AH-1s are almost totally financed by military aid funds so it’s a good deal anyways you look at it and they are also coming with 1000 hellfire missiles which is simply best in class.

      Buying anything from Turkey would without any aid or discount or maybe even a credit line we should be realistic about our resources and grab whatever we can until they decide to not give weapons to us.

      • Sami Shahid

        bro we have money to buy gunship helicopters 🙂

  • Qasim57

    A detailed comparison of our options would be nice.

    Things like range, payload, diversity of armament, altitude performance (we have the world’s highest-altitude conflicts), naval usage (commonality of helis for our warships), effectiveness in anti-terror ops as well as conventional warfare.

    • Emre yılmaz

      I can say this much. Ah1w is much more powerful than super cobra. Because we use it both.

  • SS_IND

    The Indian LCH is in the same class as Z-10, AH-1Z Cobra and T-129. The LCH program has been great and the recent firm design agreed the serial production will start soon. And the Indian army and Airforce have ordered 149 LCHs..the LCH it was reported It broke the world record for military helicopters in high altitude.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzQG645MITY

    Bilal could you do a straight comparsion between the Light Combat Helicopter category.

    • MT

      Need to wait for a year or two until ATGM nag seeker is perfected.

    • Atif Javed

      Did you just said lca is same as z10 ah 1ź and t129 oh please sorry to say these helicopters you are talking about are made by defined technology with years of research and please make your tejas first who is not combat ready still working on it from last 35 years

  • Threads are automatically closed after 48 hours of posting, but we’ll be keeping this one open as there has been a good discussing taking place.

  • Türker Demircan

    Temel Kotil is a very experienced Manager in the Sector [12 years only as Turkish Airlines GM]
    If he is talking such sure, it means there is already an agreement between Governments and only details remain..

  • nob hamid gul

    Will it be wise to procure another platform beside T-129 mi35 and ah1z?
    I think attack Helis are the need of Pakistan.

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