Pakistan, Turkey sign their largest-ever defence contract
The T129 is Turkey’s first locally manufactured platform under license. The T129 features a tandem seat cockpit, twin-engines and NATO-interoperability for attack, armed reconnaissance, precision-strike and deep-strike mission capabilities for day and night in all weather conditions.
It can be armed with anti-tank missiles, various rocket pods and has a nose-mounted chaingun.
According to a political manifesto unveiled by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Pakistan and Turkey recently agreed on terms on the largest ever defence contract signed between the two countries.
Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI, maker of the T129 under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland, has so far delivered 35 T129s to the Turkish Army and the Gendarmerie force.
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Pakistan Army Aviation commander Major General Nasir Shah told Janes earlier in the year that Islamabad was considering only a number of options to replace the ageing fleet of Bell AH-1 Cobras. The country recently received four Mi-35 attack helicopters from Russia, and will soon receive AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters.
“Army Aviation has plans to further enhance its attack helicopter fleet, and various options are currently being considered and evaluated,” Gen Shah said on January 31 at the IQPC Military Helicopter conference in London.
“The [current 32] AH-1 helicopters have provided effective close support for our ground forces engaged in counter-insurgency [COIN] operations, but they cannot be employed effectively in high-altitude operations above 8,000 ft,” he added.
“We expect further [T-129] contracts to follow the order from Pakistan,” a Turkish defense procurement official told IHS Janes.
The Turkish government has not disclosed a price for the T129 deal with Pakistan, but aerospace industry sources estimate the contract to be worth about $1.5 billion, almost equivalent of Turkey’s annual defense exports.
Turkey’s defense exports rose slightly from $1.677 billion in 2016 to $1.739 billion in 2017. Turkish officials aim to attain $10 billion in defense and aerospace exports by 2021.
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