T129 ATAK Updates
According to Turkish Aerospace, the PAA’s order for 30 T129 ATAK attack helicopters is proceeding – the OEM aims to secure export licenses “in the first months of 2019” and deliver the first batch in late 2020.
This is a longer timeline than the one outlined by Turkish Aerospace in July 2018, i.e., “less than a year.”
The $1.5 billion US contract is to be paid over a 10-year term. According to Defence Turkey, Pakistan had submitted its down payment. It appears that Turkish Aerospace is awaiting for the US to approve of third-party transfers of the LHTEC (Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company) CTS800 turboshaft engine.
Though Turkish Aerospace stated that it does not expect the engines to run into regulatory trouble, it has reportedly begun negotiations with France’s Safran Group for an alternative turboshaft engine.
The PAA’s first 10 T129s will be T129B Block-I of identical configuration to the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK)’s ATAKs. The next 20 will be Block-IIs which, like the TSK’s ATAK Block-IIs, will utilize electronic warfare (EW) suites with active radio jamming along with other self-protection measures.
To the PAA, the T129 will be a significant qualitative jump.
The PAA’s existing AH-1F/S Cobras do not possess the same level of electronics — especially in terms of sensors and self-protection system – nor do its TOW wire-guided ATGMs offer as much operational range and flexibility as the L-UMTAS, which is the form the mainstay of the PAA’s ATAK inventory.
As per Roketsan’s Market Development and PR Director, Hüdai Özdamar, the PAA selected the company’s L-UMTAS ATGM. The L-UMTAS is the laser-guided version of the UMTAS long-range ATGM.
Equipped with a tandem, high-energy warhead (or high-explosive, blast fragmentation warhead), the L-UMTAS has a range of up to 8,000 m. It uses a semi-active laser-homing (SALH) seeker, which requires the ATAK’s electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) turret to illuminate or “lase” the target until impact…
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