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Singapore Airshow 2020: Turkish Aerospace looks to secure T129 export approvals

11 February 2020
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TAI is aiming to secure US approval to export its T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopter (pictured) to Pakistan. Source: TAI

Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is confident that it will soon acquire the necessary approvals from the United States to support the sale of the company's T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopter to Pakistan.

A company spokesperson told Jane's at the Singapore Airshow on 11 February that the required permits could be approved within the next two months given what he said was "increasingly good communication" between the Turkish and US governments.

In July 2018 Turkey confirmed that it had signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan to supply 30 T129 helicopters, which are powered by US-made LHTEC CTS800-4A turboshaft engines, for the Pakistan Army's aviation corps.

The deal, believed to be worth about USD1.5 billion, was touted by the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSB) as "the largest single export in the history of the Turkish defence industry".

However, after the contract was signed diplomatic relations between the US and Turkey deteriorated following Ankara's decision to procure the S-400 Triumf air-defence system from Russia. The TAI spokesperson said that diplomatic relations between the US and Turkey are now improving and that the delay in supplying the T129 platforms will soon be resolved.

In addition to Pakistan, the TAI spokesperson said that the company is bidding for a requirement for attack helicopters in the Philippines. In 2017 the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) said it would procure up to 24 attack helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) before the end of 2022. The procurement is likely to require loans from suppliers.

In November 2018 the DND confirmed to Jane's that a procurement team set up by the PAF had identified the T129 platform to fulfill its attack helicopter capability demands.

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