Arrival of the 1st batch of attack helicopters from Turkey

FIRST LOT A T129B helicopter is on the tarmac. —PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE

After a series of delays, an official from Turkish Aerospace Inc. (TAI) confirmed that the first batch of six T129B helicopters purchased by the Turkish government will finally arrive in the Philippines.

TAI chief executive Temel Kotil said the first two T129Bs will be delivered on Saturday.

The first batch was to be delivered in December. Arsenio Andolong, spokesperson for the Department of National Defense (DND), had previously said the next two units would be delivered in 2023 and the last two in 2024.

Once commissioned, the helicopters will be assigned to the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force.

In July 2020, DND signed a contract to acquire six T129B helicopters from TAI for 13.7 billion pesos, as part of a government-to-government agreement with the Turkish Defense Ministry.

The T129B is a Turkish derivative of the Italian-designed AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta, but equipped with systems and weapons developed by Turkey. —Dexter Cabalza

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