Programme officials from the ATAK development team have provided further details of Turkey's T129 attack helicopter programme, as its first prototype has completed its debut flight.

Conducted at AgustaWestland's Vergiate facility in Italy on 28 September, the milestone event involved aircraft P1, the first of five prototypes to be produced under the Turkish Aerospace Industries-led programme.

Powered by LHTEC T800A-4 engines, the aircraft is one of three T129s to be built in a basic configuration, with the others to enter final assembly at Vergiate in March and July 2010, respectively.

Kits for the programme's two so-called Turkey Unique Configuration prototypes will be delivered to TAI in April and August 2010. These production-standard airframes will undergo assembly, integration, test and trials in Turkey.

 T129 side - ATAK team
First flight took place on 28 September

Critical design reviews for both aircraft versions will be concluded in the second quarter of next year, and all five prototypes should fly by mid-2011. "The joint programme is on time, cost and scheduled programme achievements," says AgustaWestland chief executive Giuseppe Orsi.

Turkey has ordered 50 production T129s and has options on another 41. 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.

TAI general director Muharrem Dortkasli says the first T129 ATAK will be handed over to the Turkish armed forces in the third quarter of 2013. Turkey will be responsible for international marketing and sales of the design, and industry sources say several countries are already evaluating the product, including Jordan and Pakistan.

Source: Flight International