ATAK for Cheap

Turkish Aerospace T129 ATAK helicopter. Wikipedia

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 Hurkus trainer prototype and the ATAK helicopter performing the flypast for Dr M and delegation. TAI

Turkish Aerospace T129 ATAK helicopter. Wikipedia

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 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.

The 20mm cannon of the ATAK. Wikipedia

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.
Stub wing mounted weapons for the ATAK T129 attack helicopter. Wikipedia

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.
The Super Lynx being put on board the A400M. RMAF

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.
PASKAL operators trained for maritime demonstration with Super Lynx helicopter. RMN

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.

–Malaysian Defence

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About Marhalim Abas 2186 Articles
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  1. Bro Marhalim – what are your thoughts on the 12 Vipers currently stored at AMARG waiting purchase by a new buyer since Uncle Sam has prevented the sale of the Vipers to Pakistan.

  2. What? Just RM900+ million for 6 aircraft? That less than RM1 billion. To me its cheap and very fit to our tight budget.

  3. There are plenty of other equipments that we really need that we can get from turkey instead of the ATAK. usd38 mil each is still not cheap.

    One of it are MALE UAVs. The Bayraktar TB2 UAV is a combat proven product. Ukraine bought 12 TB2 with 3 ground control stations for usd69 million, which IMO a good price for such a system. It would be a great addition for TUDM MALE UAV requirements.

    What other item i would like us to get from turkey?
    – SOM-J stealth standoff missile for MKM/hornets
    – ASELPOD targetting pod for LCA
    – MEHPOD jammer pod for LCA
    – RWR/MAWS sensor and chaff flare dispensers for LCA, EC725, C-130, A-400M
    – HAVASOJ airborne standoff jammer system.
    – FIC boats for MMEA
    – aselsan SMASH 30mm RCWS
    – manpack soldier ESM systems
    – more AV8 8×8 gempita
    – upgrade packages for adnan/mifv
    – Aselsan SEDA gunshot locator system for our vehicles
    – Aselsan ZOKA torpedo decoy for our ships and submarines.

    Before somebody mentions TF-X, Nope we cannot afford it. TF-X is a F-15 and F-22 sized fighter, larger than F-16 or even F-35. It uses 2x F-16 GE F110 engines. I dont think it can be sold at a price even equal to the F-35.

    Marhalim, a few of my comments this morning is still not approved.

  4. On the A400M. Yes we could live without it, but it has given us capabilities that we dont have previously. Like transferring helicopters (even the EC725 have been transferred by A400M).

    As for the philippines attack helicopter requirements. The favourite contender is the ATAK. But it is troubled with the us export license uncertainity. I would not be surprised if in the end little birds are bought instead.

  5. We dont need more ToT or local assembly of large military equipments as it will increase per unit costs. Look at AV8 and LCS. 1 AV8 cost around RM30mil back in 2011 that is about USD9mil (can buy 1 MBT for the price) now in 2020 is around USD6.8mil (still freaking expensive) each. Meanwhile the LCS is ovet budget due to delays (need extra RM1.3bil if not mistaken). We should just let future equipments be made at the country of origin instead of locally assemble it here.

  6. If we are going to get 6 units as well in view of replacing the 6 units MD530s, Rm 1Billion is the lowest price we’d have to pay. Can we still afford it? And only for 6 examples, unlikely will the Government approve for local assembly, much like the MD buys are to come as CBU units.

    Again the USA roadblock is ever present, and with current strained ties on the deployment of S400 SAMs, they could drag this out until PAF loses interest and buys from Uncle Sam or go European.

  7. @Luqman
    The AV8 programs does make a case for local build as the large numbers do go about creating a number of jobs at least for the few years in building them. Another reason for high cost is our AV8 is a unique uparmoured PARS variant hence that development cost has to be sunk in. As well another is the multitude of different AV8 variants that we bought does go into bringing the cost up from a basic PARS.

    The LCS built as well also contribute to job creation for a few years so I’m all for it. But the built program was mismanaged when they tried to build all the ships locally, and this causes the delays & technical problems.

    What was stupid is the local assembly of our LG1 arty considering it wouldn’t have created many jobs nor will it last longer than a year.

  8. wet dream, the little birds which has been partly paid is still not here, It’ll be another 10-15 years before Mindef sees the light

    Of course lah, cannot be delivered because the government took almost a year to decide to go ahead with it. Now with the travel restrictions due to the pandemic it will take longer as we have not even started training pilots and technicians on them

  9. @joe
    I do understand further developing a never mass produced vehicle (a prototye!!) would add more cost plus the 12 variants that was required by the army would meant more development cost and not to mention ToT.

    There are many 8×8 out there that have seen mass production and combat proven (like the patria amv we tested). Variants like APC, IFV, ambulance, reconnaissance, mortars, commands have all been developed and produced. Sure it still need to be adjusted to the Army’s specs like Thales communication suite and gunner’s day/night sight. If the contracts says it should be assembled locally then it can be done like the Polish Rosomak (a Patria AMV) for an average cost of not more than USD3million each
    our AV8 according to some source say that it only have mine protection up to 6kg under the hull while other 8×8 have up to 10kg as standard. How could we even sell this thing.

    Create jobs?? fine. But on a project that shouldn’t cost this much?

    On the LCS, yes they should have split the construction between Naval Grup and BNS say 2 built in France and 4 built locally. The Egyptians already received their 4 Gowinds and 1 FREMM frigates without major delays.

    There is no need to assemble such small number of artillery hmph.

  10. @Luqman
    So you understand that the many variants does push price upwards from a base unit. Now imagine if the base unit price was much higher if we went for Patria AMV or Boxer or VBCI. Keep in mind they don’t come in the many variants that we have (12) so we’ll have to pay to develop these. Also the standard equipment and weapons fitout for them isn’t the same as currently used on AV8 so we’ll have to pay to integrate these systems as well. And AFAIK only Boxer comes from factory uparmoured to STANAG 4 level, so if we went for Patria or VBCI we’d have to pay on the uparmouring development. All these on top of the higher base price per unit would just meant we’d spend even more money if we went for something other than AV8.

  11. What our Mindef move to enhance our defence capability asap? As we seen China continously put pressure on us.

  12. @joe
    Would that explain why the Poles could have customized their Patria AMVs to many different variants with their own systems and still have very competitive price? How the Piranha over the years could also have variants with different turrets and configurations while cost similarly with the AMV? All of these 8×8 were designed to be modular and customized just like our AV8. The answer that i could give is that the design has matured, been produced and in service far more longer than FNSS Pars hence the lower cost. Let us just hope that further AV8 order would cost an average of less than USD3mil each.

  13. @Luqman
    Rosomak only has 6 main variants compared to 12 for AV8, which some of the variants are highly specialised like the NBC recon unit. Some of the Rosomak fighting systems used are Polish developed. And I’m not sure if the vehicle is protected up to Stanag 4 from factory. All these would be a factor in the lower cost price.

    The Pirahna/LAV is for a different purpose and not considered an IFV category vehicle. Please don’t get confused just cause they used 8×8 config. A 16,000kg AFV is not the same match as to a 30,000kg IFV.

  14. The Philippines has confirmed that they would not be buying eirher the Viper or the Apache as both are very pricey. Instead they will be buying the ATAK

    Its likely they will end up with no attack helicopters really as the US won’t allow further sales of the engines of the ATAK. That’s why even Pakistan is looking to buy attack helicopters from China

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