The Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) has said it still wants to procure the T129 ATAK helicopter from Turkish Aerospace (TA) however it will seek guarantees from Turkey about the platform’s export availability.
The Philippine Air Force’s (PAF’s) technical working group originally selected the T129 for its attack helicopter programme in late 2018. Since then, the sale of the platform to the PAF has been delayed due to US sales restrictions on the T129’s US-made LHTEC CTS800-4A engine.
These restrictions are linked to Ankara’s decision to procure the S-400 Triumf air-defence system from Russia. The US perceived this decision as a breach of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Arsenio Andolong, the DND’s chief of public affairs, told Janes on 13 July that the DND retained an intention to procure the T129 platform despite complications with Turkey’s ability to export the helicopter.
“The DND will push through with the acquisition of the T129 ATAK offered by Turkish Aerospace,” said Andolong, adding, “We will require [Turkey] to commit to certain guarantees before proceeding with the acquisition.” Andolong said the required guarantees would be in response to concerns in Manila over the export-availability of the platform.
Andolong’s comments follow a reported decision by the PAF’s technical working group in June to discontinue efforts to procure the T129 in favour of an attack helicopter platform from the United States.
By Jon Grevatt