PH Air Force picks T129 ATAK as its future attack helicopter

PH Air Force picks T129 ATAK as its future attack helicopter

The government controlled Philippine News Agency reported last December 19, that the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) of the Republic of Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on defense cooperation.

The signing took place at Philippine Air Force headquarters in Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed in behalf of the Philippines and President of Defense Industries of Turkey, Prof. Dr. Ismail Demir.

The T129 ATAK is currently Turkey's main attack helicopter operated by the Turkish Army, and is also being actively offered for export by TAI, with the Philippines and Pakistan (photo credit to owner)

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) will focus on government-to-government (GTG) acquisition, as well as the development, production, co-production, and transfer of defense technology between the DND and the SSB. 

It has been reported that the Philippine Air Force has been in the market looking for attack helicopters to augment its current inventory of aircraft. And its getting more concrete as both parties have already made advancement in its procurement.

MaxDefense Page a popular defense page which tackles the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has posted an article from the Turkish side regarding T129 ATAK attack helicopter which the PAF is eyeing.

“1. Turns out that PAF pilots tried flying the T129 as early as May 2018.
"When they flew with the Atak, they understood what a real attack helicopter was. When they compared Atak to other helicopters, they found it very superior.

2. The signing of the MOU on Defense Cooperation was largely pushed by the acquisition of the T129 ATAK, as the DND and PAF wanted the deal to push through by 2019. Everything else was just a bonus part.

"Our proposal and correspondence brought us to this point. We made the first meeting on our offer. We had the chance to see the technical requirements again. We have a consensus on many issues. In 2019, they want to implement the first phase of the procurement plan. They're just as willing as we are. Particularly the eyes of pilots flying with Atak were shining. This project will be part of a major modernization. They have a need to modernize their fleet.

T129 ATAK attack helicopter of the Turkish Air Force (photo credit to owner)

3. Contract negotiations and signing are planned to be done by 1st quarter of 2019, and TAI is said to be trying it's best to deliver the first batch of helicopters by 2020.
"We are currently creating the infrastructure that can accelerate the process in line with its demands. We aim to complete the contract negotiations in the first quarter of 2019.

4. Less than 10 units will be part of the first supply package.

"As stated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the President of the SSB, a figure below 10 will form the first supply package. There is a follow-on option. Modernization of the Philippines Air Force foresees a number of units, we believe that this option will be evaluated to reach that number. We are confident in our helicopters, activities, program and logistical supportability after the first delivery.

5. The Turkish side are willing to provide 1 to 2 helicopters for pilot training.
"Tamer Özmen said, in accordance with expectations of fast delivery for the completion of pilot training in their own helicopters, as envisaged in the Pakistan program, the current program should provide at least 1-2 helicopters for pilot training.”

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Report from PNA MaxDefense

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