May 28, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — Pakistan has inked a deal with Turkey to procure 30 attack helicopters, Daily Sabah newspaper reported on Saturday.
According to the paper, President Erdogan’s Justic and Development Party (AK Party) confirmed the deal by mentioning it in the election manifesto announced on Thursday.
The paper reported that the helicopter was added to the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2014.
“ATAK helicopters, one of the most remarkable products of the national and original production model in the defense industry, have also paved the way for exports with its outstanding performance. Ongoing talks with Pakistan on the export of ATAK helicopters have had positive results,” the paper said in its report on Saturday.
“With the sales contract, the longstanding cooperation and bilateral relations between Pakistan and Turkey in the defense field gained a new dimension,” it added.
Pakistan Army’s Aviation Corps which operates hundreds of helicopters is said to have placed orders for the ATAK helicopters on technology transfer basis. Pakistan’s fleet of helicopters is larger than India and 2nd in Asia due to Pakistan’s long mountains range– largest in the world, and the ongoing war on terror in mountainous areas.
Pakistan selected the Turkish T129 Attack Helicopter over Chinese Z-10 stealth-technology based choppers sometime in 2017.
The preference for the Turkish Aerospace Industries’ (TAI) T129 ATAK helicopter over Chinese Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-10 was for offensive roles in ongoing operations. z10 has also been selected in limited numbers for strategic missions as a supporting platform, a source said.
Both helicopters’ manufacturers were in the race to supply the Pakistan Army with a light attack helicopter in excess of 50 units with an initial negotiation involving 30 choppers. Three Z-10 helicopter gunship went through user trials since 2015 while the Pakistan Army put the T129 ATAK through rigorous hot-and-high performance tests starting June 2016.
Z-10 is a heavier helicopter and got stealth technology, mainly best in full fledged war, while the Turkish choppers can be used in small conflicts as well as in war.
The TAI/AgustaWestland T129 ATAK is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform. The T129 was developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, with partner AgustaWestland.