Turkey's T-129 attack helicopter prototype makes successful first flight
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) has successfully flown the first prototype of its T129 attack helicopter
The first flight, conducted by TAI’s test pilots, of T129 “P6” prototype helicopter has timely and successfully been completed at TAI’s facilities in Akıncı (Ankara) the company said today
The ATAK Program was initiated with the aim to meet the Attack/Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter requirements of the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLF) by the integration of high-tech avionic equipment, hardware and software which will be developed in Turkey.
The first flight of the P6 prototype marks an important milestone in the ATAK Program and is the first of three T129 prototypes which are being assembled in Turkey.
The helicopter is based on the Agusta Westland A129 Mongoose which has been the mainstay of the Italian army and has been operational in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The T-129 ATAK is an enhanced version of the Italian built A129, and its development is now the responsibility of TAI, with AgustaWestland as the primary partner.
The original prototype being built in Italy crashed in March 2010 during a test flight, leaving its Italian test pilot and its test engineer needing hospital treatment for minor injuries.
Turkey originally planned to order 51 A129s with 40 options back in 2007 but the following year Turkey undertook to fully build the platform.
Under the agreement, TAI has developed an indigenous mission computer, avionics, weapons systems, self-protection suites and the helmet-mounting cuing systems. TUSAS Engine Industries (TEI) ismanufacturing the LHTEC CTS800-4N engines under licence. Under the agreement, Turkey has full marketing and intellectual property rights for the T-129 platform. There are also no restrictions imposed on Turkey for the export or transfer of the platform to third countries other than Italy of the UK.