Department of National Defense (DND) of Philippines said they still would like to procure the T-129 ATAK helicopters from the Turkish Aerospace Industries. However, they sought guarantees from Turkey for the export of the platform.
The Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) technical working group originally selected the T-129 for its attack helicopter programme in late 2018. Since then, the sale of the platform to the PAF has been delayed due to US sales limitations on the T-129’s US-made LHTEC CTS800-4A engine.
DND’s head of public affairs, Arsenio Andolong told Janes on 13 July that the DND still intended to procure the T-129 platform despite complications with Turkey’s ability to export the helicopter.
Andolong said: “The DND will agree with the acquisition of the T-129 ATAK offered by Turkish Aerospace. We will require Turkey to commit to certain guarantees before proceeding with the acquisition.”
Cost – Performance of T-129 ATAK
United States of America approved the sale of Boeing production AH-64 Apache or AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to the Philippines. Philippines’ interest in buying TUSAŞ product T-129 ATAK helicopters raised many questions in the USA upon the latest developments. US Department of Defense approved the possible sale of 6 AH-64 Apache and 6 AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters to the Philippines’ Government.
Speaking at press conference in Malacanang, Secretary of National Defense of Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana elaborated on the reason why the Philippines Air Force renounced the procurement of US-made helicopters. Lorenzana stated that the there were not any political problem between the US and Philippines, but the attack helicopter T-129 ATAK offered by the Turkish company would offer the same efficiency at a more affordable cost.
Secretary of National Defense stated that the Philippines Air Force had a total amount of 13 billion Philippine pesos allocated for the offensive helicopter procurement. Lorenzana said: “If we supply from the USA, we can only buy 1 to 2 attack helicopters. However, we can purchase at least 6 Turkish-made T-129 ATAK helicopters for the same amount of money.”
He highlighted that the negotiations for the supply of the T-129 ATAK helicopter with TUSAŞ started before the COVID-19 pandemic. Secretary of National Defense of Philippines, Lorenzana said: “Turkish ATAK helicopters are one of the best attack helicopters around the world.”