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Discussion: Pakistan’s pursuit for T129 attack helicopters and future industry and acquisition paths

Foreword: This is not a news story, but a piece for discussion. The details offered in this article are not authoritative pieces of information, but rather, opinions of the author.

On his official visit to Turkey earlier in October, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi confirmed that Islamabad was in talks with Ankara for the purchase of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK attack helicopters. The Pakistan Army is reportedly seeking 30 T129s in a deal worth $1.5 billion U.S. with Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) potentially taking-on parts manufacturing and final assembly work. If matters proceed, a breakthrough could be had by July 2018 in time for the Farnborough Air Show. If brought to fruition, this sale will be Turkey’s largest defence export program to-date and it would also be among a handful of big-ticket defence programs unfolding in Pakistan.

On the surface, the Pakistan Army Aviation (PAA) Corps requires the T129s to replace its aging Bell AH-1F and AH-1S Cobra attack helicopters, which have seen extensive use in Pakistan’s counterinsurgency (COIN) and counterterrorism (CT) operations in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

However, by connecting PAC to the program right from the onset, the T129 program has the potential to fuel Pakistan’s aviation industry sector and to enable the launch of substantive helicopter manufacturing work at PAC. The timing certainly bodes well seeing how closely it ties with the launch of the Kamra Aviation City initiative, which envisages building a robust aviation industry in Pakistan.

Attack Helicopters as CAS Assets

In 2016, Pakistan ordered 12 Bell Helicopter AH-1Z Viper and four Russian Helicopters Mi-35M. The latter have apparently been delivered, while the first two AH-1Z appear to be ready for delivery. It is not clear if additional orders are on the roadmap. The U.S. State Department had approved the sale of 15 AH-1Z to Pakistan in 2015, while IHS Jane’s was told that the Pakistan Army was interested in a total of 20 Mi-35M. The TAI T129 ATAK would effectively form the mainstay of this force, but as a lighter complement to the AH-1Z. The T129 and AH-1Z have maximum take-off weights (MTOW) of 5-tons and 8+ tons, respectively.

The intended final number of attack helicopters required by the Army is not known. However, one could argue that the provision of parts manufacturing and final assembly at PAC could set the stage for follow-on orders, especially in incremental batch orders (e.g. three or four helicopters per year). Following the initial order of 30 helicopters, 10-15 years of incremental orders could yield another 30-60 of T129s. With PAC involved in the production process, a portion of that expense would be spent locally. Granted, this is contingent on fiscal space and the Army’s requirements.

In 2016, Quwa had argued that strengthening the PAA should be the leading focus of building Pakistan’s close air support (CAS) capabilities. While the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) has invested in improving its strike capabilities, the utility of PAF assets is highest against high-value fixed installations. In COIN, those targets have been ammunition dumps and tunnels, while in conventional war such targets could include military installations and infrastructure critical to the adversary’s war effort. However, low-altitude coverage for infantry and armour, or engaging moving and time-sensitive targets, necessitate specific CAS assets.

If this CAS coverage net is relevant beyond COIN/CT – i.e. to include conventional infantry and/or armour operations – then the PAA would likely require a quantitatively large attack helicopter fleet. Sustainably achieving this goal necessitates a platform that has feasible acquisition and operational costs, especially from a maintenance standpoint. In turn, that will require localizing the maintenance and support channel, not only for lowering costs, but to ensure that immediate operational requirements are not impacted by sanctions or other supplier complications. The helicopter would also need to be operable in Pakistan’s varied environments, which include deserts, plains, mountainous areas/valleys and high-altitude peaks.

Sufficiency in range and payload is difficult to judge. First, the legacy AH-1F/S has a MTOW of 4.5 tons, while modern lightweight attack helicopters, such as the T129 and Light Combat Helicopter (LCH), have MTOWs of 5 tons and 5.5 tons, respectively. Second, Pakistan’s future conflicts – be it COIN/CT or conventional – are within its own region. In other words, Pakistan is unlikely to deploy its helicopters in distant expeditions with limited logistics support, at least not often (Pakistan did deploy an AH-1S unit to Somalia under a United Nations mandate in 1994). In other words, the focus is unlikely to be on heavy payloads, which could be found on the AH-64E, Mi-28NE and Rooivalk Mk2.

Selecting the T129 ATAK

Pakistan had evaluated the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-10 and TAI T129 in 2016. By this point it had already ordered the 12 AH-1Z, so these helicopters – both of which were lighter than the AH-1Z – were sought to complement the Viper. In 2015, China sent three Z-10s to the Pakistan Army, and the Pakistan Army deployed them in various environments, including desert operations (via exercises) and reportedly even COIN/CT combat operations in FATA. The T129 visited Pakistan for a much briefer period, during which the Army tested its performance in hot-and-high conditions and desert areas.

On the surface, the Z-10 and T129 have similar subsystems. They are equipped with electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) turrets with laser rangefinders and target designators, radar warning receivers (RWR), helmet mounted display and sight (HMD/S), passive and active countermeasures and compatibility with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM). Payload wise, the Z-10 and T129 each appear to have the capacity to carry eight ATGMs alongside a cannon. These were comparable platforms.

In terms of evaluating the T129, the Pakistan Army began the process in 2014 in Turkey. An Army team sent to Turkey was reportedly impressed with its performance. Under a framework agreement signed with the Turkish Undersecretariat of Defence Industries (SSM), a T129 ATAK was sent to Pakistan in 2016. The T129 P6 was received at Army Aviation Command in Multan on May 22, 2016.

According to TAI (via MSI Turkish Defence Review)[1], the Army evaluated the T129 P6 in hot temperature conditions, high-altitude and, for a specific period, with limited logistics support. In Multan, it was 47° Celsius, while in Pano Aqil (another area where the T129 P6 was flown) it was 50° C. During its deployment test, the helicopter was put in a hangar in Quetta, an area where it did not drop below 48° C, through the night. The TAI team did not have access to spare parts and ground support equipment (GSE). From there, TAI flew the T129 to Himalayas, where the P6 was successfully flown at 14,000 ft at 23° C. It returned to Quetta, spending another night without its GSE. The final major test required TAI to directly fly the T129 from Quetta to Multan – i.e. 480 km – without any refuelling between the two locations.

The T129 ATAK is a development of the AgustaWestland A129 CBT, an upgraded variant of the A129 Mangusta. However, the T129 also draws from the A129 International, which is evident by the fact that the T129 is powered by two Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company (LHTEC) CTS800 turboshaft engines, each providing an output of 1,361 shp. According to TAI, the T129 also includes “new avionics, visionics and weapons, modified airframe, uprated drive train and new tail rotor.” In August 2017, a TAI official claimed that the T129 possessed highly competitive life-cycle costs.

Of the potential ‘plus-one’ attack helicopters to join the AH-1Z, the Pakistan Army did not evaluate heavy-weight platforms. There had been reports of Pakistan expressing interest in the Russian Helicopters Mi-28NE Night Hunter (11 tons), but formal evaluation has yet to occur (if it will at all). It is not clear if Pakistan has an active requirement for a heavyweight platform, which would have notable payload advantages over the T129. With a MTOW of 8+ tons, the AH-1Z could be the heavyweight complement to the T129. TAI will also develop a heavier 6-ton variant of the T129 in the form of the ATAK-2, which will also use TUSAŞ Engine Industries’ (TEI) turboshaft engine. Initiating a partnership over the ATAK could also be a bridge to collaborating on the ATAK-2. Considering its desire to build an aviation industry, Pakistan may need to eschew off-the-shelf imports in favour of co-production and/or development partnerships. While the ATAK-2 would still be lighter than the AH-1Z and Mi-28NE, engaging in that program could better serve Pakistan’s domestic industry growth. Alternatively, Pakistan could examine another developmental route, such as the Denel Aeronautics Rooivalk Mk2. However, Pakistan’s limited fiscal means will restrict it from pursuing two largely overlapping development programs in parallel.
Besides taking over the manufacturing of the T129, the Turkish industry has been responsible for providing the T129’s electronics suite. Specific inputs include Aselsan’s integrated avionics comprising of multi-function displays (MFD), inertial navigation system (INS), data loading unit, control panels, communication system, digital moving map system, ASELFLIR-300T EO/IR turret, AVCI HMD/S and passive as well as active self-protection/countermeasures systems. Roketsan’s UMTAS laser-guided ATGM and CİRİT 2.75” laser-guided rockets are the T129’s principal munitions. Havelsan has also developed a T129 simulator system.

Linkage to Pakistan Aeronautical Complex and Industry Opportunities

Linking PAC to the Army T129 from the onset indicates a long-term investment. Granted, parts production and final assembly at PAC would enable Pakistan to save on foreign currency outflows to an extent, but there is also a cost to raising infrastructure. It would make sense for Pakistan to scale the infrastructure overhead by building a relatively sizable T129 fleet. Incremental, but consistent, batch orders over 10 to 15 years could amount to such growth.

At the 2016 International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) in Karachi, Pakistan in November 2016, the Deputy Undersecretary of the SSM Mustafa Şeker said the T129 was “required by the Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force. Thus, all three services are involved in the process [of evaluating the T129].”[2] It is doubtful that the PAF would engage in many CAS operations outside of special operation forces (SOF) missions, but the Pakistan Navy Marines seem to be growing in importance to Pakistan’s anti-access and area denial objectives. A CAS arm may be useful for the Marines if they are the first line of defence against an incursion along Pakistan’s adjacent coastal link with India. Alternatively, the Special Service Group Navy could use attack helicopters to support its COIN and CT operations. However, the PAF and Navy have yet to signal intent for attack helicopters, but co-production at PAC would make such procurements plausible.

However, besides co-production, it would be wise for Pakistan to raise a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility for the LHTEC CTS800 turboshaft engine, which powers the T129. In terms of turboshaft engines, PAC raised a MRO site for the Pratt & Whitney PT6, which powers the AW139, Bell 412EP, Grand Caravan EX and King Air 350ER, each of which is used by the Pakistan Army and/or PAF. LHTEC is a joint-venture between the U.S.’ Honeywell and Rolls-Royce based in the U.K. The PAF’s K-8 Karakorum trainers are powered by Honeywell’s TFE 731-2A-2A turbofan engines, this relationship could be expanded to include the CTS800. Pakistan and the U.K also relaunched a memorandum-of-understanding (MoU) for defence technical cooperation, this could be an instrument to engage the Rolls-Royce side of LHTEC. The CTS800 has not seen much adoption beyond the T129, AW159 and T625, Pakistan could look to leverage its position as a CTS800 operator to push for licensed spare parts manufacturing.

In July, the Pakistani government and the PAF inaugurated the Kamra Aviation City complex, pairing PAC with a nearby academic campus (raised by Islamabad-based Air University). The intent of Kamra Aviation City is to foster growth in Pakistan’s aviation sector, including commercial and civil aviation. With the JF-17 and Project Azm (i.e. a medium altitude long-endurance drone and 5th-generation fighter) forming the desired long-term objectives of the initiative, the T129 program could be a valuable driver for near-term activity (outside of the JF-17). It would pave the way for helicopter-related activities at PAC, imbuing the entity with experience in the area which it could extend to future programs.

In fact, it would be ideal if this acquisition sets the framework for the Army’s future big-ticket acquisitions, especially in aviation. For example, the Army’s aging SA330/IAR330 Puma utility and transport helicopters could necessitate a replacement. If one is pursued, it ought to be done as a co-production deal akin to the T129 or a joint-venture, with the TAI 10-ton general purpose helicopter program being a plausible avenue. The TAI helicopter would be analogous in size to the Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk, itself a versatile design with maritime, civil services and SOF variants. With the Pakistan Navy also operating the legacy Sea King, the idea of pooling requirements could be explored as a means to build domestic scale. In fact, a platform of this nature would likely spur a higher production count considering that it is a general-purpose system, covering search-and-rescue, medical evacuation, law-enforcement and others.

Besides TAI, the Turkish companies Aselsan, Roketsan and Havelsan are also involved in the T129 ATAK. It is possible that the T129’s entry to Pakistan will have these companies expand their business activities in the country. Aselsan and Havelsan are already engaged in Pakistan. Aselsan is a subsystems vendor for the Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B submarine upgrade program. It is also working with the National Radio Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) to supply software defined radios to the Pakistani armed forces. Havelsan has supplied simulator systems of various kinds, including artillery forward observer training systems, to Pakistan. It is also supplying subsystems for the Agosta 90B upgrade program.

Roketsan had been eager to enter the Pakistani market. At IDEAS 2016, the company had told MSI Turkish Defence Review that it was open to supplying its ballistic armour technology for Pakistan’s tank programs, UMTAS ATGM and CİRİT laser-guided rockets, artillery shells and 122 mm and 300 mm rockets.[3] The T129 could lead to Pakistan acquiring UMTAS and CİRİT munitions. Likewise, Aselsan’s EO/IR and avionics suite and Havelsan’s simulator system would likely be factors as well. On the electronics side, the Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP) could work to connect the Pakistani private sector to Aselsan and Havelsan so that they can jointly execute T129-related contracts in Pakistan. With the PAF urging the private sector to invest in Pakistani aviation activities, enabling access to T129 sub-contracting work – especially electronics and after-sale support – could be a tangible bridge to that goal.

If finalized and brought to fruition, the T129 would be among a handful of big-ticket defence programs to unfold in Pakistan, joining the JF-17 multi-role fighter, Hangor (II)-class submarine and the al Khalid main battle tank in the near-term. A well-structured and executed program seeking to meet specific public and private sector industry goals can provide a relatively nascent aviation industry base a vital boost. This may also be the foundation for a stronger partnership with TAI, one that can extend to new programs, such as the 10-ton general purpose helicopter and potentially other solutions.

[1]“TAI T129 ATAK at the Himalayas.” MSI Turkish Defence Review. November 2016. Issue 31.

[2] “Turkey-Pakistan Defence Relations Moving to Next Level.” MSI Turkish Defence Review. January 2017. Issue 34.

[3] “Turkey-Pakistan Defence Relations Moving to Next Level.” MSI Turkish Defence Review. January 2017. Issue 34.

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  • by Salmam
    Posted October 30, 2017 12:26 am 0Likes

    A very well written and researched piece. Thanks for writing on this topic Bilal

    In my opinion, this purchase would be a waste of scarce resources of pakistan, better spent for smarter investments. Pk should NOT buy this overpriced and unneccessary attack helicopter

    Firstly, not all services and ssg need this attack helicopter. Imagine navy, airforce and ssg using an attack helicopter. What the hell for !! This is outright bull false marketing by the Turkish company…..and pk’s love to repeat such counter productive self destructive mantra
    This is an army requirement and thats it !

    Secondly cost!!!!  $ 50 million for one helicopter. At this price can get 2 JF17 fighter aircrafts
    This is an overpriced platform and pk does not need it at all !
    ( for those who forward the argument of local assembly to justify this ridiculous price tag, read on)

    Thirdly, the marketing that COIN operations wud not be possible without this attack helicopter is totally absurd. Attach helicopters came about from a need on the regular battlefield  for support and anti tank. Such a helicopter is suited for eastern border in southern punjab and sindh.
    The troop transport helicopter is required for COIN to move troops , an attack helicopter is not a must in our case..and certainly not the $50 million a piece kind.
    Though apaches hv been used sparingly in fata operations, the main burden of coin has been borne by paf
    I cant imagine sending and risking a $50 million helicopter to fata to take out 3 militants in a mud hut. Total BS !

    Forthly there is no hurry. There is no extremely urgent need to spend $1.5 billion and buy this overpriced helicopter. Pakistan can make ado with existing for now. The point is that instead of buying this white elephant, pakistan should embark on their own domestic helicopter program with design assistance from a foreign country. If the output takes 5-7 years, its money well spent. There is no hurry now to buy this

    Fifthly, the engine is US owned and prone to embargo. This platform is filled with US and EU sourced electronics. Even the electronics made by aselsan and other turkish companies have their main components sourced from US , holland, uk etc

    The better source of a turboshaft engine for any pakistan helicopter program is Motor Sich in Ukraine provided a complete TOT. Even russian helicopters used to use ukrainain engines until recently.
    But Pakistan has a weakness in negotiating. When pk bought 320 T-80UD tanks from Ukraine  for $650m, pk did not obtain transfer of technology. In those days the ukrainians were very desparate and would sell the whole factory but alas typical stupidity ( and other avoidable factors better left not mentioned)
    Recently pk purchasing additional engines but no TOT but only depot level maintenance. Anothet BS. There is a serious and dangerous  problem in the pk tank program and not only mismanagement.

    The key to any platform program is its R&D phase. In order for any lasting benefit to local industry, pk must be involved in the R&D and integration phases. So that after an initial TOT, the country can proceed for further versions on its own.
    The key parts are rotor blades, engine, gearbox/transmission.
    Local assembly of a helicopter does not help in any of these critical areas.
    Local manufacture of non-critical parts and assembly have no benefit. PAC already manufacture complex mechanical parts and does not need a $1.5 Billion program to learn to produce similar parts.
    Pk establishments have a habit of running away from a challenges and simply love the skd kits route. Even aselsan’s TOT to NRTC was in kits form after which years later NRTC is still dependant on turkish supplier for design and source codes !
    Whereas Care Pvt ltd a local pakistan company has designed a robust software defined radio but NRTC and GOP continue to buy turkish !!??
    This local production drama (kits or assembly) is overblown. Give a pakistani public sector establishment the easy way out, they will take it 100% percent of the time !!

  • by Joseph
    Posted October 30, 2017 1:12 am 0Likes

    $50 million does sound quite expensive for helicopter, I think that kind of money can buy like 3 Chinese Z-10 ($17 million each according to various sources), also new turbo shaft engine WZ-16 is available now, could further improve Z-10’s performance.

    And China’s own 10 ton utility helicopter Z-20 is almost ready now (several test flights have been performed). Comparing to Turkey’s 10 ton utility helicopter is still just plans on on paper.

    Considering how much T129 cost, Turkey’s 10 ton utility helicopter is probably over priced too. Chinese option seem to be much more bang for the buck.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted October 30, 2017 1:36 am 0Likes

    Regarding the unit price, it’s important to remember that these figures generally include maintenance/after sale support, training and munitions. If parts production is on the table, then a portion of these costs will be spent in Pakistan. Offsets (i.e. exporting those parts and some services back to Turkey) will help recoup some of those costs as well. Finally, this sale itself is conditional on Pakistan receiving a loan to back the deal – i.e. it’ll be paid via installments, so it isn’t a sudden loss of $1.5bn.

    The question of joining Chinese programs (e.g. Z-20) is the uncertainty of whether Beijing would allow for Pakistan to enter its supply channel. It’s not just an issue of being independent, but also pivoting that defence industry base to earn exports as well.

    So while the Chinese might be willing to let Pakistan build a support base for the Z-20 and manufacture parts, will any of that enter the Chinese market? The thing with the Turkish stuff, while costlier up front, is that their lack of scale and relative infancy can be leveraged for long-term economic activity.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted October 30, 2017 1:41 am 0Likes

    The question of joining Chinese programs (e.g. Z-20) is the uncertainty of whether Beijing would allow for Pakistan to enter its supply channel. It’s not just an issue of being independent, but also extending that defence industry base to earn exports as well.

    So while the Chinese might be willing to let Pakistan build a support base for the Z-20 and manufacture parts, will any of that enter the Chinese market? The thing with the Turkish stuff, while costlier up front, is that their lack of scale and relative infancy can be leveraged for long-term economic exchange, which can provide gains to other sectors – e.g. asking that a % of all maintenance work (first, second or third-party) for the TAI 10-ton helicopter be done in Pakistan, or that a % of spare parts be sourced from Pakistan, that a % of all sub-assemblies be sourced from Pakistan, etc.

    With the Chinese, the best cards are on their side of the table. They don’t need Pakistan to sustain the Z-20 or Z-10. They don’t need to give Pakistan anything in the way of economic benefits or co-production partnerships.

  • by Mohammad Usama Shehmeer
    Posted October 30, 2017 1:53 am 0Likes

    Bilal have a look at this news, published today in a reputable newspaper.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted October 30, 2017 1:55 am 0Likes


  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted October 30, 2017 2:03 am 0Likes

    The Turks have been more flexible on the offset front, you’ll see it in their export pushes in Pakistan and other markets. For example in the UAE Otokar co-invested in raising al-Jasoor Heavy Vehicles Industries to supply the Rabdan AFV to the UAE. In Kazakhstan, Aselsan co-funded the establishment of Kazakhstan Aselsan Engineering (KAE) to manufacture and supply thermal sights locally and in the regional market.

  • by Joseph
    Posted October 30, 2017 2:08 am 0Likes

    That does sound like Turkey would use Pakistan parts for their helicopters. This revenue could offset some of the high cost of T129. I guess future revenue and local employment is what they call the clincher closed the deal.

  • by Salman
    Posted October 30, 2017 2:31 am 0Likes

    The chinese option may be cheaper than turkish but it is also equally unfit for pakistans long term requirements

    The ability to mass produce helicopters domestically at will is critical

    Afghanistan will remain a potent threat to pakistan. The afghan issues is in phase 1 as the govt is weak but is growing in strength resources and capability ( rubbishing them aside. So what is taliban claim control of 15 districts. They also claimed the same in swat and fata. So the point is not to underestimate the inevitable and eventual capability and control of the afghan govt)

    Once they gain a relatively stable foothold, then the issue moves into phase 2 when afghanistan will start more aggressively meddling and formenting trouble in kpk. It could take 2 or 5 years for that phase but it will surely come. The end game for the aghans remains the same as it was in the 1940, 50 ot 60’s….to break up pakistan and take away from & dominate the “punjabi pathans” of kpk.
    At that stage mobility and control in mountain areas will be crucial factor. Thats when helicopters (all… transport, utility and attack) in large numbers will be needed, not only for execution of any operation buy also for force posturing.
    Thats when the critical need and benefit of a domestic helicopter program comes to the fore.

    More importantly massive indian investment in their armour , offensive capabilities of battlefield integrated groups is a greater threat. Southern punjab and sind remain a weakness for PA. Battlefield attack helicopters with long range & smart avionics will be critical in LARGE numbers. Small numbers are useless.

    Even if $50 million helicopter is produced locally, then again it will cost atleast $40 million to produce locally. Major components including engine, rotor blades, avionics etc will need to be imported, and Turkey will not give licence to produce for free. The savings will be minute compared to the price tag of this junk

    So there is no substitute or stop-gap alternative to a domestic helicopter program of which pk can produce as many large numbers in local currency as needed.

    The TOT from Motor Sich or the chinese for the engine is important for such a program

    If our chinese partners want to help, they can provide design assistance for a fee ( india paid out $100 million to france for design assistance..i think.. on turbofans. They also had paid for design assistnce to a euro country for india’s domestic helicopter program..i think france again)

    Let the pk self proclaimed super scientists do some real work this time and domestically develop a platform!
    ( aqkhan supporting the claim that car can run on water. And mubarakmand trying to rebut that claim. What a shameful circus that was 🙂 )

    For comparison. The jf17 fighter program R&D program including prototypes cost pakistan $ 500 million, about 1/3 the cost of this foolish turkish helicopter purchase of $ 1.5 billion .

    ( $ 1,000 million is $ 1 billion)

    This turkish helicopter is going to be a disaster purchase …. a total waste of money.

    Then later PA will blame the politicians, and the public sector “scientists” will claim they dont get funds otherwise they could build the moon for pakistan…ha !!
    Let these lazy souls with doubtful competance develop this ….instead of criticizing others while conveniently forgetting that most systems they have ” developed” have been imported ( from durandal, fuzes, towed sonar, to uav, etc . The story behind Raad and babur for another time)

  • by Joseph
    Posted October 30, 2017 2:59 am 0Likes

    Helicopter programs are actually not that easy because there are 4 classes of helicopters, that is 4 ton, 7 ton, 10 ton and 13 ton class helicopters. That is 4 platforms and 4 classes of turboshaft engines.

    I don’t think it is worth it for Pakistan to develop all of them. It won’t be economical. If I were Pakistan I would pick one or maybe 2 classes I need most to domestically design and produce including engine and import the rest.

    4 ton and 7 ton class helicopters are usually used as light attack and naval helicopters. 10 ton class (Black Hawk class) is wildly used for transporting troops or as heavy attack helicopters or naval helicopters on larger frigates and destroyers.

    I am not familiar with Pakistan defense needs but I think it would be either 7 ton or 10 ton class, these 2 are supposed to be most widely used.

  • by Ahsan Jamil
    Posted October 30, 2017 4:24 am 0Likes

    Will Turkey require US export clearances for PK coz of LHTEC CTS800 engines?

  • by Faisal Jawaid
    Posted October 30, 2017 4:55 am 0Likes

    Salman has weight in his argument, running away from challenges will not bear fruit. Its time to go indigenous.

  • by Faisal Jawaid
    Posted October 30, 2017 5:17 am 0Likes

    I never understood why we shy away from trying. Contrary ready to waste the funds in importing foreign products.
    Army is not buying the indigenous cavalier MCV. Army rejected Yasoob trucks. We are enemy of our own progress.
    Seniors should discuss the route of indigenous development. This will bring prosperity. Engineer , scientist, technician will get challenging avenues.
    Pakistan should persuade turkey for 50% parts manufacturing by offering them bigger order of 100+ choppers over the span of 10 to 15 years.

  • by ali amanat
    Posted October 30, 2017 10:01 am 0Likes

    Very true and precise must develop local industry engage and take advantage of local investor and vendors wait even 10 years but with a local product free of any hurdle and sanctions and most important is a visionary leadership to meet the future challenges.its better to collaborate with china for Z10 low price with same capabilities and all above said local production with TOT santion free , chinese option is more feasible than overpriceTAI 129 turkish with western subsystems always knife on neck.

  • by helpful friend
    Posted October 30, 2017 10:25 am 0Likes

    Salmam Sir i would like to ask you where did you get the information of 50 million dollar per unit information i have searched all over the internet i could not find it however the Apache is at a cost of 35 million while t 129 variant A 129 itself costs 22 million per unit.

    Even if we add munitions training profit and taxes it should equate to 30 or 35 million tops?

  • by ali amanat
    Posted October 30, 2017 12:57 pm 0Likes

    Its unfortunate , as you mentioned above our bureaucracy never and won’t be in favour of indigenization and always rejected local products and vendors and preferred imported one and of the shelf why its so is an understood and big question no need to mention just wait and see the out come of this adventure, our forces are lacking in every field no local R&D and no designing and development just alas;

  • by sami shahid
    Posted October 30, 2017 12:57 pm 0Likes

    We should buy T-129 from Turkey. Another option can be to buy few MI-28 helicopters from Russia and ask them to produce the remaining in our country.

  • by ali amanat
    Posted October 30, 2017 12:59 pm 0Likes

    True and well said

  • by bill
    Posted October 30, 2017 1:55 pm 0Likes

    Sir it takes lot of years and R&D along with a huge infrastructure to become indigenous especially in the field of aeronautics . It was effort of many years which paid in shape of JF17. Making Helicopters ingenuously is not just like making candies. First we should check how many specialized institutes or research centers are there merely few or none. Same is case with technical institutes of superior quality. This is not work of defense forces to build such infrastructure so you should blame preceding Govts rather than armed forces, we should encourage the efforts being made by PAF in shape of aviation city being built .

    Yasoob trucks were not rejected and in use though at limited scale the company supplying Yasoob is out of business with no solid reasons known. The thing is Army cannot and should not compromise on quality on the basis of product being produced indigenous. We should leave the testing and selection part for professionals.

    First we have to produce hundreds of engineers. technicians and support staff required for such projects then we may start a JV even in case of Helicopters but not now.

    It is a common norm in Pakistan to criticize any organisation or individual blindly without checking ground realities first.

  • by Yılmaz Önal
    Posted October 30, 2017 2:13 pm 0Likes

    as a turkish,i dont want to pakistan to buy attack helicopters..pakistan dont need this type of helicopter because they dont have terror problems..attack helicopters are useful aganist terrorists instead of a huge war..pakistan should use their resources for their more important needs..but armed propelled planes make better job than attack helicopters…

  • by Stan
    Posted October 30, 2017 5:48 pm 0Likes

    Armed forces have been exploiting Pakistan like a colony ,show me a single retired officer who is poor it’s a system of privilege and I have no sympathy for the armed forces blaming civilians

  • by Faisal Jawaid
    Posted October 30, 2017 7:06 pm 0Likes

    I understand what you are saying. We have to start at some point. Atleast start. Look at Israel due to their determination they developed the tech which they have been deprived off.

  • by Salman
    Posted October 31, 2017 1:16 am 0Likes

    It is in the above article by Bilal

    30 helos for $1.5 billion

  • by Aamir
    Posted October 31, 2017 1:17 am 0Likes

    If in fact Pakistan does decide to buy the T129, this should help our aviation sector grow. The price tag of $50m per copy is fairly high but then the price tag for the Mi35 is $38m per copy, that is expensive for a 40 year old design.

  • by Bilal Khan
    Posted October 31, 2017 7:07 am 0Likes
  • by Joseph
    Posted October 31, 2017 7:24 am 0Likes

    The page does not say much. Helicopter like this is usually not that different from UH-60 black hawk. It seems TAI version is a bit slower but has a larger load, can carry 20+ people instead of 17 by black hawk.

  • by Joseph
    Posted October 31, 2017 7:48 am 0Likes

    Ah, Turkey actually implemented both 7 ton and 10 ton class helicopters. It seems my recommendation is on the mark (at least for Turkey).

    I think Pakistan should try to do the same.

  • by vector
    Posted November 2, 2017 12:11 pm 0Likes

    Rooivalk, seemingly is the expensive route, but light helis like atak 129, which have been deemed too light by even turkish standards will not be sufficient for the job.
    We are not looking for terrorist killers but indian armour and terrorist killers.

  • by Diaa Ahmed
    Posted November 2, 2017 4:49 pm 0Likes

    very high price pakistan have better option ka-52 much cheaper and rusdia can give offset and more facilities chian can drive better price and local production for Z-10 with new engine wz-16 with 1600kw power turkey run away from ataka T-129 and gowing for real attack helicopter with 2000hp engine jordan and moroco reguse this junk

  • by Omer
    Posted November 17, 2017 10:58 pm 0Likes

    Actually you are not correct. IP was one of the main reasons why AH-64 variants fell out of the running during the selection processes and Italian Augusta moved ahead. Furthermore this can be baked into the deal.

  • by TZK
    Posted November 23, 2017 4:21 pm 0Likes

    You are right the major threat to Pak’s survival comes from the east and for that you need lots of planes but the threat from the west is to the CPEC by terrorists. Attack helicopters and COIN aircraft will be needed. They can easily arm the training planes to take on the coin role but will need attack helicopters too.

  • by Kshithij Sharma
    Posted January 25, 2018 10:38 am 0Likes

    When the engine of the chopper and some critical pats are still from EU, how can it be turkish helicopter? The most maintenance intensive work is in engine itself. Without engine, it will be waiting for permission from NATO

  • by Kshithij Sharma
    Posted January 25, 2018 10:42 am 0Likes

    Production is just assembly. India has been doing that and is useless. No one gives ToT for manufacturing parts. Even in case of T129, engine and some critical sensors are import from NATO

  • by Kshithij Sharma
    Posted January 25, 2018 10:44 am 0Likes

    No one gives the manufacturing ability of engines. Manufactuing metal parts is given as licence production. critical parts are a secret

  • by sami shahid
    Posted January 26, 2018 12:56 pm 0Likes

    Read my comment again

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