T-129 ATAK has been already presented this year during the Paris Air Show event. The helicopter also constituted the central element of the Turkish showcase booth during the Berlin ILA 2014 Salon. Radom is the first event attended by ATAK in Poland. On 28th August the Turkish design is going to be presented in a dynamic display in Warsaw, and then it is going to be a part of the Kielce MSPO defence expo.
What’s interesting, the helicopters presented so far abroad belonged to the Turkish Air Force, while the T-129 showcased in Radom was the TAI-owned example used within the R&D and test programmes. The rotor-craft presented its high level of manoeuvrability and ability to execute manoeuvres in vertical plane, resulting from the good power-to-weight ratio.
T-129B ATAK is a novelty, both during the aviation events, as well as in the Turkish Army. The first lot of this type of helicopters was introduced into service in April 2014. In Total, Ankara plans to acquire more than 50 examples.
Turkish Aerospace Industries is interested in cooperation with the Polish Army, within the scope of tailoring the helicopter to the Polish requirements which, at the moment, are unclear, thus the company is waiting for the Ministry to request the offer. Despite the wait, the company had already started activities related to cooperation with the Polish defence industry. In May this year TAI concluded an agreement with the Mesko company and with the Central Military Bureau of Design and Technology. The representatives of the Turkish company stress the fact that they are willing to expand the cooperation with the Polish Armament Industry in connection with the T-129 offer within the ‘Kruk’ programme.
T-129B ATAK helicopter is manufactured by the Turkish Aerospace Industries facility, on the basis of an agreement signed back in 2007 with the Agusta Westland company. What is important, TAI still has a right to export the manufactured helicopters. They feature new LHTEC CTS 800-4A engines, along with a five-bladed main rotor. The armour plating of the helicopter is better, it uses Turkish avionics, optronics and armament.
Besides the 20 mm cannon, ATAK may be armed with 70 mm unguided rockets, along with Cirit rocket, which is the guided counterpart of the unguided weapon. The helicopter also carries Mizrak-U ATGM system, with a range of 8 km (Turkish counterpart of the Hellfire II missiles). Both types of the rocket armament are manufactured by the Roketsan company. The armament is complemented by the Stinger Air-To-Air missiles for self-defence. Representatives of the TAI company do not see a problem of integrating the helicopter with the ordnance required by the buyer, such as the AGM-114 Hellfire II or Spike LR ATGMs.