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Turkish heavy attack helo breaks cover

A view of the ATAK 2 heavy attack helicopter, being developed for the Turkish Armed Forces and export customers. (Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images))

Turkey's new T929 ATAK 2 broke cover on 24 April, with Turkish Aerospace (TA) releasing new imagery and information on the heavy attack helicopter to coincide with its first engine run trials.

The new imagery was released by TA and the Turkish Defence Industry Agency, which are both developing the T929 to equip the Turkish Armed Forces and potential export customers. These provided the first real-world close-up look at the helicopter (concept imagery had previously been released, as had interviews with programme officials that showed the helicopter in the background), which is expected to make its maiden flight in the coming weeks.

Following the same stepped tandem-cockpit, stubbed wing, and fixed tailwheel-type landing gear configuration of most other dedicated attack helicopters, the T929 is essentially a heavier (8–10 tonnes) and larger version of the TA T129 ATAK helicopter that it is intended to replace in service with the Turkish Armed Forces.

The cockpit is ballistic tolerant up to 12.7 mm rounds, and the new imagery shows it to be equipped with a large area display. The stub wings feature six weapons stations for up to 1,200 kg of munitions, including guided air-to-surface and air-to-air missile, guided and unguided rockets, and freefall bombs. It also features a chin-mounted T-30H 30 mm chain gun, as well as an Aselsan forward-looking electro-optic/infrared turret (likely to be the ASELFLIR-600).

The engines that were subject of the most recent tests were a pair of Motor Sich TV3-117VMA-SBM1V Series 1 turboshafts acquired from Ukraine for the early prototype aircraft, while series production models are expected to be powered by two TUSAS Engine Industries TS1400 turboshafts.

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