Turkey Delivers Two ATAK Helicopters to the Philippines
Turkey has delivered two T129 ATAK helicopters to the Philippine Air Force, in its first delivery to a foreign country.
The attack helicopters were inducted into the Philippine Air Force after undergoing technical inspection and successfully passing flight tests.
In 2020, the Philippines ordered six choppers in a deal worth $280 million.
Turkey has previously exported defense equipment to the Philippines, including armored vehicles, light arms, ammunition, and night vision binoculars.
T129 ATAK Helicopter
The ATAK helicopter is a twin-engine, next-generation aircraft that can be used in all weather conditions at a cost of over $50 million per unit.
Developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), the first flight-testing of the helicopter’s prototype took place in September 2009.
A derivative of the Italian-designed AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta, the T129 is equipped with Turkish-developed avionics and weapon systems.
The TAI has delivered over 76 choppers so far to the Turkish forces, with the number expected to reach 83 by the end of this year.
Pakistan Deal on Hold
Pakistan also planned to procure 30 ATAK choppers in 2018, however, the deal couldn’t be implemented as the export license from the US still awaits clearance.
Turkey requires the export license as the helicopter’s engine has been jointly developed by the US-based Honeywell and British company Rolls Royce, making it obligatory to obtain a permit for US military-grade commercial sale.
Turkey’s Booming Defense Sector
Turkey’s defense industry has grown rapidly over the past two decades as the country plans to reduce its foreign dependence in the defense sector.
The annual turnover of the local defense and aviation industry increased from $1.1 billion in 2002 to $10.9 billion in 2019.
Ankara’s defense export revenues also crossed $3 billion-mark in 2021, and are likely to reach $4 billion in 2022.