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TAI sets May date for T129 prototype debut

Turkish Aerospace Industries' first prototype T129 attack helicopter will perform its flight debut at the end of May, with the company saying ground testing has been completed.

Aircraft P6 is the first of five prototypes being built by ATAK programme prime contractor TAI. All of these will make their first flights this year, the company said during the IDEF exhibition in Istanbul.

The Turkish army has ordered 50 production T129s - a development of the AgustaWestland AW129 - and has options on another 41. In addition to TAI, the programme also involves Turkish companies Aselsan, Havelsan and Roketsan. Flight tests will conclude in 2013.

 
© AgustaWestland
AgustaWestland has already flown T129 prototype aircraft

Meanwhile, TAI has also starting manufacturing nine aircraft in an interim T129 EDH standard for the Turkish army, with the first to be delivered next year.

Featuring AW129-standard systems and powered by LHTEC T800A-4 engines, they will meet an urgent requirement to replace some of the service's Bell AH-1 attack helicopters.

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