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Philippines to Receive First T129B in December

First Two of Six Attack Helicopters on Order

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will receive its first batch of two T129B ATAK helicopters from Turkish Aerospace (TA) in December, a 26 November Twitter announcement revealed. Local media reported senior officers confirming the statement.

This comes after Manila confirmed in May that it had ordered six T129Bs from TA for $269.38 million (€238.84 million) under a government-to-government agreement signed in July 2020. The next two aircraft are expected to be delivered in the first half of 2022: the final two the following year.

Although the PAF’s technical working group selected the T129 for its attack helicopter programme in late 2018, sale of the platforms was delayed due to sales restrictions on the helicopter’s US-made LHTEC CTS800-4A engines, linked to Ankara’s decision to procure the S-400E TRIUMF air defence system from Russia. The restrictions were eventually lifted.

The new tandem-seat helicopters will enhance the combat capabilities of the PAF, which fields MD 520MG and AW109E POWER light attack helicopters in the counter-insurgency and ground support roles. It since recently fielded one of the two Bell AH-1 COBRAs donated by Jordan in late 2019. The latter aircraft formally entered service on 18 November, thus becoming the PAF’s first dedicated attack helicopter.

Gabriel Dominguez



The first two T129 ATAK helicopters on order for the PAF will be delivered before year end. (Photo: Turkish Aerospace)

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