Philippine media said that the country will soon receive its first Turkish-made T129 attack and reconnaissance helicopter this December.

Accordingly, the Philippines has ordered 6 helicopters designed and developed by the Turkish Aerospace Company (TAI). The value of the contract is estimated at $280 million – and this will be the first foreign country to use ATAK.

The sale process gained momentum after the United States approved export licenses to Turkey for the sale of the helicopter, powered by an American engine, to the Philippines in May. A joint venture by American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce produces the engines powering the T129 helicopters, namely the LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, which are mounted in pairs on each helicopter. Foreign companies are obligated to obtain export permits for U.S. military-grade commercial sales.

T129 ATAK Attack Helicopter
T129 ATAK Attack Helicopter

Based on the AW129 attack helicopter, the T129 is a twin-engine, multi-role helicopter designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments. Performance requirements against challenging geographical and environmental conditions in night and day operations. It has several key improvements over the original A129 inline with the requirements of the Turkish Army.

Basically, the T129 has a payload capacity of 1.2 tons, allowing it to carry heavy and high-powered weapons such as anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and a 20mm turreted three-barrel gun system.

The T129s will serve in the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force. The arrival of new military aircraft to the Philippines would bring the surface strike unit closer to full operational capability. Previously, in October, the PAF welcomed five Brazilian turboprop A29B Super Tucano light attack aircraft at Danilo Atienza Airbase. The first of two AH-1s Cobra helicopters donated by the Jordanian government also arrived at the Cavite Airbase.

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