The Philippines has taken delivery of its last two of six Turkish Aerospace T129 ATAK attack helicopters.

The two rotorcraft arrived at Danila Atienza air base on 19 May, according to the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippines air force.

T129 ATAK Philippine Air Force 3

Source: Philippine air force

The two new T129s complete Manila’s six-strong fleet

Manila received its first pair of T129s in March 2022 and its second pair in November 2023. The six helicopters stem from a 2020 order reportedly worth $269 million.

“These dedicated attack helicopters are expected to enhance the combat operational capability of [the air force] and address the capability gap identified in urban warfare,” says the service.

T129 ATAK Philippine air force

Source: Philippine air force

Attack helicopters will improve air force’s urban warfare capabilities

Based on the Leonardo Helicopters A129 Mangusta, the T129 is powered by a pair of Light Helicopter Turbine Engine Company T800 engines. It is armed with a 20mm three-barrelled cannon and can fire anti-tank missiles and rockets.

Manila has worked to improve its precision-strike capabilities following its 2017 battle against Islamic insurgents in the southern city of Marawi. During the five-month urban conflict, which laid waste to the city, Philippine airpower struggled to precisely target militants holed up in buildings.

T129 ATAK Philippine air force 2

Source: Philippine air force

The ATAK is armed with a 20mm cannon, anti-tank missiles, and rockets

In addition to the ATAKs, Manila also operates a pair of Bell AH-1S Super Cobras that it obtained second-hand from Jordan.

More generally, Manila has been working to enhance its rotorcraft capabilities, particularly through the addition of the Sikorsky S-70i. The country ordered 16 examples in 2019 – one of which was lost in a crash – and placed a follow-on order for 32 examples in February 2022.