The US prevented Turkey from selling attack helicopters to Pakistan because of sanctions from the purchase of the Russian S-400 Triumph air defense system.
On March 8, Mr. Ibrahim Kalin, spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan, said that the United States had prevented the supply of 30 Turkish-made T129 ATAK attack helicopters to Pakistan, because its engines are American-made.
It is known that the engine installed on the T129 ATAK attack helicopter is the CTS800 (Export version of the LHTEC T800 engine), manufactured by LHTEC, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Honeywell. In addition to the TAI / AgustaWestland T129 ATAK, this engine is also used on the AgustaWestland AW159, Boeing-Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche helicopters.
According to representatives of the Turkish Defense Industry Secretariat, in July 2018, Turkey and Pakistan signed an agreement to supply 30 ATAK helicopters, the largest contract in Turkish history. Period selling weapons, estimated to be worth 1.5 billion dollars.
However, implementation of the agreement was delayed because the United States did not provide Turkey with an engine export license, because the US Congress prevented the supply of US weapons to Turkey in order to force the country to give up. S-400 air defense system purchased from Russia earlier.
T129 ATAK is a product jointly developed by AugustaWestland (Italy) and Turkish Aerospace Industry Group (TAI).
The source said that Turkey is currently developing its own helicopter engine. But to succeed, it is not overnight, while partners can hardly wait, but will turn to buying Chinese attack helicopters. This is the opposite effect of the sanctions that the US itself has enacted.
“The US blocked our plan to sell our combat helicopters to Pakistan. This could lead to the contract going to China and the end of the US as a loser [engine failure] as well. “- Kalyn said in an interview with Bloomberg.
According to Kalyn, Turkey bought Russia’s S-400 Triumph because the US refused to sell the Patriot-3 (PAC-3) air defense missile to Ankara on favorable terms. At the same time, France also froze talks with Turkey on the supply of Eurosam (Aster-30) air defense systems, due to France-Italy concerns about Ankara’s operations in Syria.
According to Mr. Kalyn, Turkey resolved its differences with Russia through constructive dialogue and with good results. And when another country imposes a position in the maximum way – “either follow me, or nothing”, it has the opposite effect – the press representative of the Turkish president stressed.
Last year, the Philippines also intended to purchase T129 ATAK attack helicopters from Turkey, because Manila claimed that the US attack helicopters were too expensive (the price was up to 450 million USD for 6 AH-1Zs. Viper, accompanied by six AGM-114 Hellfire land-to-ground missiles and APKWS guided rockets).
However, the deal could not be successful as the US sanctions on the country, coupled with the ban on the sale of Lockheed Martin’s fifth-generation stealth fighter the F-35 Lightning II, to Turkey, under the US Anti-adversary Act through sanctions (CAATSA).
One option that can help Turkey export the T129 ATAK regardless of the attitudes of the US and the West is to buy Ukrainian engines instead. But this is also a very difficult project because the Ukrainian government will have to look at the face of the US to decide.
Moreover, if it passes through the US gate and buys a Ukrainian engine, Turkey still cannot export this helicopter, by T129 ATAK by AugustaWestland (Italy) and Turkish Aerospace Industry Corporation. Ky (TAI) is developing cooperation, so Ankara does not have the right to arbitrarily export this type of helicopter.
The TAI/AgustaWestland T129 ATAK is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform. The T129 was developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with partner AgustaWestland. The helicopter is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
The ATAK programme was begun to meet the Turkish Armed Forces’ requirements for an attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter. The T129 is the result of the integration of Turkish-developed avionics, airframe modifications, and weapon systems onto the AgustaWestland A129 airframe, with upgraded engines, transmission and rotor blades. Currently It is in use by the Turkish Army.