As Pakistan-Turkey relations continue to blossom, Pakistan will procure 30 T-129 ATAK gunship helicopters from Turkey. Pakistan and Turkey signed the deal of the T-129 ATAK helicopters on Friday after the extensive trials of the attack helicopters concluded in Pakistan. As per initial estimates, the deal between Ankara and Islamabad is being described as being worth $1.5 billion.
T-129 ATAK to replace the ageing AH-1F Cobra gunships
The deal is one of the largest single defence export deal ever made by Turkey. T-129 ATAK helicopter gunship is a development of Italian Agusta A 129 Mangusta and is equipped with high and hot capabilities.
T-129 attack helicopters will replace the ageing fleet of AH-1F Cobra gunships which are currently a part of the Pakistani defence forces. The AH-1F Cobra fleet is now worn out and is not very capable of scaling higher altitudes. The twin turboshaft engines of the T-129 ATAK helicopter gunship is the highlight feature that impressed Pakistan the most.
T-129 attack helicopters are equipped with Turkish sensors and weaponry along with highly powerful engines. T-129 ATAK helicopter gunship was extensively tested in Pakistan by the Pakistan Army in the summer of 2016 and it highly impressed the defence forces of Pakistan. 3 T-129 ATAK helicopter gunships even participated in the Pakistan Pride Day Parade on March 23 and this includes first hinted at Pakistan’s plans of procuring the T-129 ATAK helicopter gunships from Turkey.
Pakistan chose Turkey over China?
China too sent three of its CAIC Z-10 helicopters to Pakistan for trials which were later returned to China. It seemed like the CAIC Z-10 gunship helicopters did not please the Pakistan Army much. But the T-129 ATAK helicopters surely did and they would soon be seen as a part of Pakistan’s military. As reported by the Turkish media, this deal between Pakistan and Turkey will also include ammunition, logistics, spare parts and training.