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PAKISTAN To Acquire 30 ATAK Gunship Helicopters From TURKISH Defense Giant TAI Despite Biased US Sanctions Against PAKISTAN Iron Brother TURKEY:
A high-level PAKISTAN ARMY Official has confirmed that PAKISTAN will proceed to acquire the T129 ATAK Gunship Helicopters as per schedule from TURKISH Defense Giant TURKISH Aerospace Industries (TAI) as per original schedule despite the biased US sanctions against PAKISTAN’s Iron Brother TURKEY.
A high ranking PAKISTAN ARMY official spoke on condition at Defence IQ’s virtual International Military Helicopter 2021 conference on 24th February, 2021 that PAKISTAN is very much interested in Deadly TURKISH ATAK Gunship Helicopters and said that “still very much under consideration”.
The Top Ranking Defense Official further said that “The contract is a bit delayed because of certain third-party approvals. But the OEM is hopeful of getting over the political hurdles and providing that third-party certification,” he added.
“We are still looking forward to accomplishing the contract with the TURKISH Government,” Defense official continued.
It is pertinent to mention that PAKISTAN ARMY has signed the $1.5 Billion Defense Deal with TURKISH Defense Giant TURKISH Aerospace industries (TAI) for the procurement of 30 numbers of state of the art T-129 ATAK Helicopters.
However, the delivery of the said helicopters stalled as the United States halted the export of the 2 x T800-4A engines used in the Helicopters due to its biased approach towards both Iron Brothers, PAKISTAN and TURKEY.
The T800-4A Engine is manufactured by the LHTEC, a joint venture between the British Company Rolls-Royce and American firm Honeywell. Reportedly, it is the United States, who is blocking the export of T800-4A Engines.
Following this biased move of the United States, PAKISTAN’s Iron Brother TURKEY was given a one-year extension by PAKISTAN to proceed with the Engine Acquisition. However, PAKISTAN also set aside CHINESE Z-10 Helicopters as a second potential option, if the deal of T-129 ATAK Helicopter jeopardizes for different reasons.
The Undersecretary for Defence Industry of TURKEY, Ismail Demir had said on January 6, 2020, “PAKISTAN has agreed to give us another year (to deliver the helicopters). We hope we will be able to develop our indigenous engine soon to power the T129. After one year, PAKISTAN may be satisfied with the level of progress in our engine program, or the US may grant us the export license.”
PAKISTAN Order for 15 AH-1Z Viper Gunship Helicopters:
In April 2015, the US Department had categorically approved the possible Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to PAKISTAN for the procurement of 15 numbers of AH-1Z Viper Helicopters with undisclosed numbers of Hellfire Missiles for a whopping amount of $952 million.
On the other hand, the United States again used the biased approach and put the order of PAKISTAN’s AH-1Z Viper Helicopters on hold, allegedly over indian concerns.
Out of the total 15 Numbers of AH-1Z Viper Gunship Helicopters, 12 AH-1Z Gunship Helicopters have been completed, but are stored at the 309th AMARG Base in Arizona, awaiting delivery after the resolution of US biased approach.
After the deal with US stalled, then PAKISTAN gets its eyes on TURKISH T-129 ATAK Helicopter.
The T-129 ATAK Helicopter is basically a Twin Engine, multi-role and all weather Attack Helicopter based on the Agusta 129 Mangusta Platform.
The Helicopter was built by the TURKISH Defense Giant TURKISH Aerospace Industries (TAI) with the technical collaboration of AgustaWestland.
The T-129 ATAK Helicopter is a state of the art advanced reconnaissance and attack helicopter that is fully capable of carrying out the multi-role mission in unfavorable rough conditions and terrains in both day and night conditions.
TURKISH Aerospace Industries (TAI) Officially Delivers Upgraded ATAK Phase-2 Rotorcraft:
The TURKISH Aerospace Industries (TAI) official hands over the upgraded ATAK Phase-2 Rotorcraft to the General Directorate of Security.
Ismail Demir, head of the Defense Industries Presidency (SSB) said, “Today, we attended the first T129 ATAK helicopter delivery ceremony. General Directorate of Security has received a more competent ATAK FAZ-2 version.”
The ATAK Phase-2 made its maiden flight in November 2019. The Phase-2 variant of ATAK Helicopter is equipped with the improved avionics, laser warning receiver, Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, radar warning system, radio frequency jammer and 9681 V/UHF Radio system.
It is seen as another step by TURKEY for self-sufficiency in the development of T-129 ATAK Gunship Helicopter. TURKEY is also developing the indigenous engine for the T-129 ATAK Helicopter, which is still in the testing phase.
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