Skip to content Skip to footer

Pakistan is evaluating the TAI T-129 attack helicopter

The Turkish defence minister’s visit to Pakistan has been fairly eventful. In addition to Pakistan’s request for four Ada-class corvettes and upgrades for its Agosta 90B submarines, the Pakistan Army is officially evaluating the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129 attack helicopter.

According to Defence Minister Fikri Işık via Hurriyet Daily News, “One of the most important issues between [Turkey and Pakistan] is a deal for T-129 attack helicopters.” In fact, according to Milliyet, a T-129 was actually sent to Pakistan for tests (20-31 May); Defence Minister Işık being positive about the tests, and the prospects of stronger Turkish-Pakistani defence ties in general.

Comment and Analysis

Like the Ada-class corvettes, Pakistan is no stranger to the T-129. In the late 2000s and early 2010s, the TAI T-129 seemed like a genuine contender for the Pakistan Army’s next generation attack helicopter plans, but a combination of funding constraints as well as murkiness regarding the U.S.’ willingness to clear the T-129’s turboshaft engines for sale to a third party put a dampener on that front.

In 2015, the Pakistan Army ordered 15 Bell Helicopters AH-1Z Vipers instead. Of course, most should be able to see that depending on an American platform, especially from the standpoint of territorial defence against other countries (i.e. not internal counterinsurgency), is not at any level a sustainable path.

An alternative platform would be necessary, especially if the Army is looking to leverage its armed aviation assets for use on the Eastern Front. It is for that reason we believed that the Pakistan Army was looking at the Chinese Z-10 and Russian Mi-28NE.

The presence of the T-129 basically makes that equation complicated – the T-129 is still using an American turboshaft (i.e. LHTEC CTS-800-4A). To be fair, Turkey is eager to have a domestically sourced turboshaft, but that prospect is long-term, at best.

If this ‘alternative platform’ does emerge as the future backbone of the Army Aviation Combat Group, then we cannot expect its decision in the short-term. The Army will be careful in selecting its finalist, and if critical aspects such as domestic maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) are factored in (as we hope), then negotiations will take time as well. The cost and timetable will depend on whether the Army intends to position this new platform as its backbone, that is not yet clear to us.

Show CommentsClose Comments


  • by U
    Posted June 4, 2016 4:48 am 0Likes

    It indeed has made the situation complicated, No idea what the Army is trying to do, theyve ordered AH-1Z, theyve displayed Z10 on 23 March, they were offered MI 28NE by Russia it self and are repotedly interested in its latest version and now this Turkish-American product has come back and is being tested! What is actually going on, I hope what ever it is, is in the best interest of the nation.

    I believe MI 28NE is way better than the T129, But I think Pakistan Armed forces are obsessed with anything American or even partly American doesn’t matter if it’s prone to sanctions and Pakistan needs to get humiliated to buy it, maintain it, upgrade it, even freakin use it!

  • by sufi
    Posted June 4, 2016 8:08 am 0Likes

    politics of the procurement aside , can anyone throw some light on the capabilities of T-129 and tell us where it stand vis a vis Z 10 , viper and MI 28 NE ?

  • by nob hamid gul
    Posted June 4, 2016 9:29 am 0Likes

    U forgot to mention the russian mi35. Maybe the army is evaluating the several platform to negotiate the price of their desire product. They used this tactics when mirage was procured

  • by Mohsin E.
    Posted June 4, 2016 11:13 am 0Likes

    The Havoc-NE is a better platform. The Longbow-like MMW radar above the rotors is a huge tactical advantage, acquiring the target from behind cover and then popping up for a few seconds just to launch the ATGM and then dropping back under cover.

  • by Sami Shahid
    Posted June 5, 2016 5:10 am 0Likes

    Pakistan wanted to buy 14 Ah-1z vipers from the US….but US will provide just 9 till 2017….T-129, WZ-10 and mi-28 all are a good option

  • by nob hamid gul
    Posted June 5, 2016 10:45 am 0Likes

    I think the backbone of Pakistan army attack helicopter will be form either by turkish t-129 or the Chinese z-10. I think the viper will not be procured more than 15 and the mi-35 15 to 20 are enough. The mi 28 NE will not be the backbone as it will offer little in maintenance and spare parts facilities. Mi 28 will be use as another option against the indian. Both the Turkish and Chinese are reliable partners hence there are lot of chances for spare parts manufacturing and even overhauling.

  • by Mehmet Aydemir
    Posted June 5, 2016 1:37 pm 0Likes


  • by Bilal Khan - Quwa
    Posted June 6, 2016 2:41 am 0Likes

    Got a request to keep the thread open, it will remain open.

  • by jigsaww
    Posted June 6, 2016 3:40 pm 0Likes

    Not a future proof gunship. Unless and until Pakistan can have sound guarantees from Turkey over American subsystems, it would be a huge mistake to invest in T-129. F-16s should be enough proof of US being a dubious and untrustworthy supplier throughout its dealings. One thing Pakistan should remember is that whatever the matter of discord between US and Pakistan (or Turkey and US if ever), the repercussions will always be of military nature by hold/cancel/suspend/withdraw of arms deals. That is the only way US responds.

  • by Abdul Rashid
    Posted June 6, 2016 5:01 pm 0Likes

    CAN Turkey provide guarantees at all over US or any other Western subsystems used on the T-129?

  • by jigsaww
    Posted June 7, 2016 2:15 am 0Likes

    There are no guarantees on third party systems/subsystems, especially not when it comes to US. Re-export restrictions will always be there and US is one country that actually uses them fairly a lot.

    I don’t know why they keep going back to experience potential US sanctions.

  • by U
    Posted June 7, 2016 3:43 pm 0Likes

    Anything American has to be the best! So Beg for the Best.

    I don’t know how other countries survive on purely Russian and Chinese equipment.

  • by Sami Shahid
    Posted June 9, 2016 12:21 pm 0Likes

    T-129 is a good option for Pakistan to upgrade its fleet

  • by Sami Shahid
    Posted June 9, 2016 12:22 pm 0Likes

    If Pakistan purchase T-129 or WZ-10 it would be very easy for Pakistan to not just upgrade its fleet but also to repair and upgrade these choppers…..Pakistan may also be able to produce these chopper locally.

  • by zeeshan sanga
    Posted June 23, 2016 2:19 am 0Likes

    Russian mk.28ne gunship helicopter is number 1 in the world of attack helicopter s

  • by Adnan
    Posted April 13, 2017 7:57 am 0Likes

    I’m a bit late but current fleet of Pakistan’s light/medium attack helicopters after the old AH Cobras is 40 T-129 ATAK ,15 BELL AH-1Z VIPER and 20 CAIC WZ-10. Pakistan had all three of them from some time and decided to purchase all 3 of them. The US Viper is bit heavy in arms but more costly and maintenance is costly too and prone to “sudden sanctions”
    Personalty, I support T-129 and WZ -10 as they from brother Turkey and all weather friend China.
    The 4 Mil Mi 35 heavy attack are also for evaluation as Pak. might go for 12 or 16.

  • by Adnan
    Posted April 13, 2017 7:58 am 0Likes


  • by Adnan
    Posted April 13, 2017 8:12 am 0Likes


Leave a comment