The first prototype of AgustaWestland's T129 attack helicopter being developed for Turkey crashed on the afternoon of 19 March during a test flight, leaving its Italian test pilot and its test engineer needing hospital treatment for minor injuries.
Early indications point to a loss of power to the tail rotor while flying at an elevation of 1,500ft (455m) near Verbania in northern Italy. Investigation of the incident will focus on establishing the exact cause of the power failure.
The $3 billion ATAK project, based on the A129 Mangusta, is likely to be delayed because of the crash. The deal was signed in 2008, and the first prototype, P1, made its first flight in September 2009. Turkey has ordered 50 production T129s for delivery from 2013 and has options on another 41.
AgustaWestland will make two T129 prototypes in Italy, after which manufacture will shift to its Turkish partner TAI. The aircraft will be equipped with Turkish-made systems including electronics, forward-looking infrared sensor, cockpit avionics and mission computer from Aselsan, and weapon systems from Roketsan.
The first T129 flight took place in September 2009