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 complement 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.