Pakistan has formally signed for 30 TAI T129 attack helicopters from Turkey, it was disclosed on 24 May.
The confirmation of the anticipated sale to Pakistan was made in the political manifesto that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) has released ahead of the general election scheduled for June. The manifesto states that “a very short while ago a contract for the sale of 30 attack helicopters was signed with Pakistan”. No further details were disclosed and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.
Pakistan is known to have evaluated the Turkish-built version of the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta as part of an ongoing effort to procure a new attack helicopter for the country’s army. With the Pakistan Army having already ordered 12 US-built Bell AH-1Z Vipers, it had since 2014 been trialling the Chinese-built Z-10 and since 2016 the T129.
Speaking earlier in the year to Jane’s and other defence media, Pakistan Army Aviation commander Major General Nasir Shah said only that a number of platform options were being considered to augment its current Bell AH-1 Cobras, the four recently received Mil Mi-35s, and its soon to be delivered AH-1Z Viper platforms.
“Army Aviation has plans to further enhance its attack helicopter fleets, and various options are currently being considered and evaluated,” Gen Shah said on 31 January at the IQPC Military Helicopter conference in London. “The [current 32] AH-1 helicopters have provided effective close support for our ground forces engaged in counterinsurgency [COIN] operations, but they cannot be employed effectively in high-altitude operations above 8,000 ft,” he added.
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