SHAH ALAM: Atak for cheap. Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is reportedly selling six ATAK T129 attack helicopter to the Philippines for around $230 million (RM990 million) or basically RM165 million per aircraft, a Manila based newspaper reports.
The report came following reports that US had cleared Philippines to buy the Apache or Vipers for its military. Note the sale of either has not yet to be made.
From the Inquirer
The US offers came as the PAF’s selected attack helicopter, the T129 ATAK helicopters of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), continues to struggle in obtaining export license from the US for its subsystems.
The TAI is supposed to provide six units of T129 ATAK helicopters to the PAF for around P13 billion.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told INQUIRER.net that the contract with TAI is still under negotiation.
He acknowledged, however, that TAI is facing challenges in obtaining an export license from US. “Problema ng Turkey. Sabi inaayos. (That’s Turkey’s problem. It’s being fixed, they said.),” Lorenzana said.
He said budget constraints forced the PAF not to choose US suppliers because with the amount of money allocated for the helicopter upgrades: “The PAF did not choose the US because they can buy only two… While in Turkey—six,” said Lorenzana.
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As mentioned in the report, TAI has yet to export the helicopters as it has not obtained the export license from the US, mainly relating to the ATAK engines. But the price quoted for the Philippines is interesting as the Malaysian government had previously said it was keen to work with Turkey in defence issues – from arms purchases to transfer of technology which usually means local assembly of these equipment in Malaysia.
Local assembly however will mean that equipment purchased will be saddled with higher prices of course. And we will probably end up paying the price of an Apache for an ATAK.
Anyhow, in other news, a RMN Super Lynx was transported to Kota Kinabalu on board a RMAF A400M transporter on May 6. This was the first time a Super Lynx was transported on an A400M since the airlifter was put into service with RMAF. In the past, RMN send its helicopters, Fennec and Super Lynx, to Sabah and Sarawak on board its ships.
The Super Lynx can fly on its own to Sabah and Sarawak on its own but it required several stops along the way. The helicopter also need to be equip with fuel bladders installed in the cabin to allow long distance flying.