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TAI General Manager meets with Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production
June 26, 2017
Dr. Temel Kotil signing an agreement with the Chairman of Pakistan Aeronautical Complex at IDEF 2017. Photo credit: Turkish Aerospace Industries

TAI General Manager meets with Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production

The General Manager of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Dr. Temel Kotil, met with Pakistan’s Minister of Defence Production (MoDP) Rana Tanveer Hussain on Wednesday, May 30 in Islamabad, Pakistan.

According to a press release issued by Pakistan’s Press Information Department (PID), the MoDP lauded the growth in bilateral defence ties between Turkey and Pakistan.

The PID release also states that both sides “expressed satisfaction over ongoing cooperation in defence … [specifically the] PN Fleet Tanker, MILGEM Corvettes, 5th Generation Fighter ([Turkish] National Fighter Programme), T-129 attack helicopter and Super Mushshak Aircraft project.”

Notes & Comments:

TAI is working to secure Pakistan as its launch export customer for the T129 ATAK attack helicopter. The Pakistan Army has been deciding between the T129 and Changhe Z-10 to compliment its newly ordered Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper (the first three are due to reach Pakistan in 2017).

During IDEF 2017, which took place in Istanbul, Turkey in May, TAI and Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) had signed two memoranda-of-understanding (MoU): a sale of 52 Super Mushshak for the Turkish Air Force and an agreement for enhancing collaboration between PAC and TAI. Pakistani news outlets had reported that the latter agreement was in reference to the T129.

In an event hosted by İstanbul Düşünce Vakfı (Istanbul Thought Foundation) in February, Dr. Kotil stated that TAI was confident of landing a T129 sale to Pakistan. Seeing TAI’s head meet with the Pakistani MoDP in Pakistan could be a sign that momentum is building towards a big-ticket transaction, which have been relatively common in the past several months between the two countries. At various points in the recent past, TAI has also expressed interest in selling the Anka drone and Hürkuş trainer to Pakistan.

Pakistan has also been slotted as a possible partner or participant in the Turkish National Fighter program – i.e. the TFX. It is currently unclear if the MoDP is perceiving the TFX as a project for the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) or as a separate commercial venture for Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC). However, the PAF leadership did state that it was in talks with several unspecified countries for 5th-generation fighters.

  • آصف اقبال

    Bilal sir, was is not true when it was recently circulated in Media that TAI T-129 production facilities were to be extended to Pakistan?

    • حماد الر حمان

      No, it was only ToT of T-129.

    • I’d wait a bit before accepting what the Pakistani media says on its own (without official statements or quotes). But as per Alan Warnes, TAI is offering an offset package to Pakistan involving T129 parts production.

  • Ali Afzal

    Korkut self air defence gun system and T-129 gunship is suitable for Pakistan

  • U

    Sorry, but I have a bad feeling about all this T129 hype. I think it is being some how forced into Pakistan, probably with the help of Pakistani Gov, kick backs and stuff….

    Every other month Turkish media and officials give news of increasing Pakistani interest and how good the thing is, but I haven’t seen even one Pak Army official’s statement reported anywhere.

    I think something is cooking between the Pakistani Civilians and Turkish industry.

    Now I don’t mean the heli is not good, but I need the Army to say it is good for them or else its just Turkey’s nice marketing skills and Pakistan’s awesome Gov at work.

    • U

      And on top of this, just read Oscar’s post on PDF about his experiences of curroption in the Armed forces plus from my little personal interactions with them, I am just scared for poor Pakistan.

      • Khalid bin Walid

        Im a turk. And i can say you are some how right about that. I have also the feeling that the turkish defense industry is some how forcing a sale of the T129 over the turksih goverment to the pakistani gov. despite that say “to offer a really good prcie” i think TAI needs a customer to implement their product into the market.
        As i read Pakistan thinks about prchasing the AH 1Z Viper which is also a highly agile heli with nearly the same operational spectrum of the T129 so i cant comprehend why they should get the T129. The only plus could be the price and the certainty that turkey has the intellectual property and would always supply Pakistan as a muslim ally with spare parts and integrated weapon systems for the T129 which isnt always given with western “alies”. The only thing is the engine but TEI is currently devoloping one which will be ready few years.
        But in my opinion turkey should share defense technologies for free with their muslim allies and overlook the financial aspect, muslims need each other these days. Turkey should strengthen hiis muslim allies.

        • U

          I am all for Pakistan and Turkey working together, but with mutual interests in mind, not at the cost of any one brother’s loss. Pakistan is not a well off country, it has too many problems with very little cash, so I hope it does not ends up buying expensive toys for favouring a brother country when it has other options to play with.

          Simply put, Pakistan should always look for best bang for the buck.

        • Shakeel

          T129 is a formidable helicopter. Also, it will lay the foundation for a limited domestic capability – which at this stage is pivotal, given that there is a lot of talk about creating an ‘Aviation city’. The latter would spearhead Pak in the right direction.The AH-1Z is prone to sanctions, and US domestic policy is not favourably conducive towards Pak. The engine issue is a problem, for T129 but I am sure that the Pak & Turks have factored this into the equation. It’s a risk well worth taking, given the level of resourses required to pursue to some degree an indigenous helicopter capability.

          • If the LHTEC engine doesn’t pan out, Pakistan could simply wait for the TEI turboshaft.

          • U

            Wait? Who knows how long it might take them to develop their first “successful” engine? Or is the “plus one” selection a long term plan and not an immediate requirement?

          • I don’t think the “plus one” is immediate. The Army is already in the process of inducting the AH-1Z and Mi-35M, and those will take some time to integrate into the PAA’s operational structure. In fact, from my memory the near-term requirement was for 12-15 new attack helicopters to supplant the oldest AH-1F/S in COIN operaitons, the “plus one” would factor into slowly replace the rest of the fleet and build out the anti-armour/conventional CAS element.

        • ahmria

          Nothing is given for free even amongst Muslim brothers unless In times of war. A nice discount would help though. I Hope that Pakistan and Turkey work more closely together though as Pakistan can learn much from Turkish experience in certain military fields.

    • The armed forces have generally been quiet about future acquisitions, with the MoDP assuming the role of being the front to talk about and sign them.

      In turn, we’ve rarely seen forces officials praise specific hardware (not named JF-17), at least in recent years. But the Turks have been open, even when Pakistan sends criticism. For example, MKEK sent the MPT-76 for trials with the Army, but the Army told them that the rifles didn’t fare well in summer or hot temp trials. MKEK admitted that and said it was working on an improved version.

      I think Turkey is understandably excited about a possible T129 sale, it’d be several billion dollars in scope over the long-term and provide a lot of opportunities for their various companies. It’d be the same excitement for Pakistan if a big JF-17 sale to a major air force was on the horizon.

      • U

        I understand about Turkey being excited. They should be, but then what shall we take from the fact that Pakistan Army is actually flying the competing Chinese attack chopper, it is being actively used in excercises and also displayed during public parades! I mean isnt the Army projecting the opposite of being interested in A129?

        Secondly, regarding your point of Armed forces keeping quite, I think in the case of Milgem Corvetes the Navy did show obivious interest. In the case of ASELPOD, it probably won on the basis of cost and/or reluctance of the Americans and French.

        Then we have the recent news of Swedish AWACS, the ACM himself broke the news which shows they were actually pursuing it and not the Chinese option.

        In the case of T129, the Army hasn’t given a clue in its favour, instead! they showed us the Z10 Thunderbolts on 23 March.

        • The Army didn’t fly the Z-10s in the latest March 23 Parade. It only flew them in 2016. There are only 2 aircraft (with some reports claiming they’ve been returned to China), and they were sent to Pakistan for testing. The jury is still out on the Army’s “plus one” selection to back the AH-1Z.

          As for the MILGEM. I got some push back in recent months for talking about the MILGEM precisely because there were no official statements about it from the PN. You won’t find a single official statement before May (when the LoI was signed). Interestingly, we didn’t even get much official info for the Hangor (except for that one time the CNS called the new Sino subs the Hangor) – but no specifics on the make, model, AIP type, etc.

          Regarding the Erieye AEW&C. That info was conveyed by the ACM to Alan Warnes, which is a special case. There are no other Alan Warnes. Had it not been for him we might have found out about these Erieye AEW&C via the MoDP next year.

          • U

            Thanks for explaining and giving hope lol. I just hope the decision makers of Pakistan start carring for Pakistan just as they care for their families. Tough times ahead, lets hope what ever decision they take are in the best interest of Pakistan.

          • ahmria

            Bills do you know if the Air Force are going for the standard Erieye package or the latest extended range variant?

  • Steve

    I understand people’s suspicions about corruption. OTOH we do need a new light helicopter gunship to facilitate our plans to totally deter the almost defunct Cold Start with conventional force alone without resorting to TNW. There are only marginal differences between Western derived light helicopters so why not T-129? It is Western derived, has good hot and high performance, and comes with good sensors and a great weapons package. We may get TOT, assembly, and progressive manufacture, and be able to jointly market it all over the world. As far as army being ‘forced’ to buy it, Bajwa is no fool and hopefully won’t allow any civilian corruption nonsense. We should negotiate a good deal with the Turks so that doors are opened to TFX and other such collaborations. 40 new T-129 with 12 (20?) new AH-1Z Viper already in the pipeline will do nicely in the deserts and plains. We are getting 1000 Hellfires which are a serious upgrade to our anti-tank inventory. We will also hopefully get about 20 new Mi-35 for air assault for smashing remnants of TTP, BLA and similar others. Maybe also for SSG use on the LOC. Army aviation already flys nearly 300 helicopters including over 50 AH-1F/S and is growing stronger by the day!

  • Abdullah Aman

    What information is coming for TFX is pakistan going to joint it

    • Turkey has invited Pakistan to participate in TFX. We don’t know much else, but Alan Warnes did say: “sometime in near future it’s likely to figure in PAF’s new generation fighter aircraft requirement.” Beyond that, we can’t say.

      • John Rue

        TFX Program cost is 25 Billion which may go up 50% or even double by the time first plane rolls out. Cost per unit is 100-110 Million. So at 10% contribution you are talking about 2.5 to 5 Billion and with 16 planes , we are looking at 2 Billion plus. Window shopping is always fun. Isn’t it?

        Also , the engine provider will be either GE, P & W, or Eurojet Turbo. Great prospects of keeping them airworthy during any future sanctions.

        • IIRC the TFX program cost is the cost of development and production. I say this because in 2016 IHS projected the development cost to be $12 billion, from which Turkish analysts projected the total cost (with production) to be $25 billion. If it climbs by 50% then it’d be $37.5 billion.

          • John Rue

            Even at 37.5 Billion , its too much for Pakistan to contribute first and then buy planes. We are looking at $ 5 billion plus venture over the period of 5 years or so. This is way beyond PAF’s budget for new aircrafts.
            Why not to buy S-400’s equivalent from China instead.

          • Current cost figures estimate that Turkey is aiming for a flyaway unit cost of $190-200 m. While very high, that is basically in league of most other 5th-generation fighters. For the PAF, an acquisition of that nature would mean giving it a strong qualitative element, and as it is a new-gen fighter, it’ll remain with the PAF for 40-50+ years. In other words, the cost will be spread over the long-term. Partnering and acquiring a reasonable amount of production workshare will also help in offsetting some of the cost.

            Without the PLAN/PLAAF picking up the FC-31 (still not apparent), the flyaway cost may not be too far from the TFX. Granted, China could opt to write down the R&D cost and try getting its RoI some other way, but we’ll need to wait and see for that to happen. I think it’s possible, but doesn’t seem to be on the table yet (or the PAF would have openly signed on by now).

            As for China’s S-400 equivalent… We’ll have to see how they fare with their newly bought S-400s first.

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