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Turkey admits US blocking of its attack helicopter sale to Pakistan

The United States has blocked Turkey’s sale of T129 combat helicopters to Pakistan, which will likely lead to the latter purchasing them from China, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told the Bloomberg news agency on 8 March.

The US has for some time declined an export licence required for the US LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines that power the T129s Turkey had agreed to sell to Pakistan. Turkey was to produce 30 T129s for Islamabad under a USD1.5 billion deal signed in 2018.

Kalin’s remarks marked an official admission that the US had blocked the sale.

Separately, Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), told the local NTV news channel on 3 March that Turkey was in negotiations with an unnamed country to procure engines for its Altay main battle tanks (MBTs), which will soon be integrated into the vehicles.

A Turkish defence industrialist close to the project told Janes that two South Korean firms are involved, with S&T providing the transmissions and Doosan supplying the engines. The systems will be integrated in Turkey.

“The South Korean powerpacks will be tested on an Altay MBT. If they are successful, then another contract will be signed with the concerned companies,” the same source said.

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