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TAI bullish on T129 prospects

Turkish Aerospace Industries hopes to complete delivery by year-end of its initial batch of nine T129A attack helicopters for the nation’s land forces.

Developed from the AgustaWestland AW129 under Turkey’s ATAK programme, so far four of the rotorcraft have been handed over in an initial operating capability configuration. This features a 20mm cannon and unguided 70mm rockets.

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Turkish Aerospace Industries

The subsequent B model – essentially a full operating capability helicopter – will feature laser-guided Cirit rockets and Mizrak anti-tank missiles, both developed by Turkish firm Roketsan, alongside Raytheon FIM-92 Stinger air-to-air munitions.

Görkem Bilgi, TAI business development manager helicopter systems, says that depending on the outcome of negotiations with the Turkish government, the first T129Bs will be delivered in the first half of 2015. Ankara has a total of 59 of the type on order.

“We are in the qualification process for the T129B model and we have a programme of tests to perform,” he says.

Bilgi says that talks are ongoing aimed at sealing a number of export deals for the 5t helicopter, including with potential customers in the Middle East Gulf region, and central and east Asia.

Meanwhile, the airframer is waiting for clearance from the US government to allow it to begin final assembly of a Turkish-produced variant of the Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk.

TAI will initially manufacture 109 of the T-70-designated helicopters for six Turkish government end-users, plus a further 109 export examples for Sikorsky.

Bilgi anticipates receiving the necessary approvals early next year, with production to commence shortly after. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2018.

The T-70 will feature a Turkish-designed avionics suite from Aselsan and gearbox and dynamic components made by Alp Aviation.

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