The Friday demonstration of the T-129 helicopter constituted a part of the “T-129 ATAK Poland Roadshow”. ATAK is offered for the Polish Armed Forces within the scope of the “Kruk” programme. The aim of the programme mentioned above is to select the successors of the Mi-24 helicopters. The last stage of the roadshow is planned during the static display of the MSPO 2015 Kielce International Defence Industry Exhibition, planned between 1st and 4th September this year.
The Turks have sent the sixth prototype of the T129 ATAK helicopter to Poland. The rotorcraft is owned by the Turkish Aerospace Industries Inc. The helicopter is covered in a single-color black paint scheme. The presented example is being used in the development programmes and test flights. During the “Roadshow” in Poland, information was provided regarding the planned polonisation of the helicopter, should ATAK be selected by the government within the scope of the “Kruk” programme. The process referred to above would involve some of the Polish companies, including: Mesko, Wojskowe Centralne Biuro Konstrukcyjno-Technologiczne [Central Military Bureau of Design and Technology], both of which have already signed relevant agreements, as well as other subjects, relevant contracts with whom are going to be signed during the MSPO event.
T129B multi-role variant of ATAK is offered for the Polish Army – this variety is tailored to carry guided armament. Mizrak-U (UMTAS) ATGMs are the basic armament of the helicopter. These missiles have a range from 500 to 8000 meters. Depending on their variant, the guidance process is realized in a semi-active way, with the use of a laser, or in a passive way, with the use of thermal vision. In the latter case, there is an option to realize a bidirectional data connection between the missile and the helicopter, throughout the time of the flight. Representatives of the TAI company do not see a problem in integrating the helicopter with other types of ATGMs, such as the AGM-114 Hellfire II or Spike LR missiles.
Besides the guided weaponry, the helicopter also carries 70 mm unguided rockets carried in a pod housing 19 rockets, Roketsan Cirit laser guided missiles, Stinger air-to-air missiles and 3-barrel 20 mm M197 cannon. T129 is powered by license manufactured US-designed LHTEC CTS800-4A engines, with a power output of 1361 horsepower each. The helicopter also features a new five-bladed main rotor.
T129 helicopters are currently being introduced into use in the Turkish Army which, at the moment, is in possession of 9 examples of the basic T129A variant. Besides these helicopters, the Turkish Armed Forces are going to procure in total at least 50 T129B rotorcraft. T129A helicopters have already been used against the rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party.