Posted By Military News Posted On

The T-129 is a new Turkish attack and reconnaissance helicopter

The T-129 lightweight attack helicopter was jointly developed by AugustaWestland of Italy and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) of Turkey. This programme was intended to meet a Turkish armed forces requirement for a new attack and reconnaissance helicopter. In 2007 a contract was signed between AugustaWestland and TAI for development of the new attack helicopter.

This contract included 5 prototypes built in Italy by AugustaWestlant and 2 prototypes built in Turkey by TAI. Originally 51 helicopters were ordered with an option for 40 more. Under the agreement Turkey has full marketing and intellectual property rights for the T-129. The first Italian prototype made its first flight in 2009. First Turkish prototype made its first flight in 2011.

First operational helicopters were delivered to the Turkish Army in 2013. By 2017 a total of 27 production T-129 helicopters were delivered. The T-129 was first used in combat in 2018 when Turkish Army entered Syria fighting Kurdish forces. At least one helicopter was lost during fighting with the Kurdish forces. In 2019 a total of 53 T-129 helicopters were delivered. Turkish Army also operates a fleet of ageing AH-1 Cobra and AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters that are showing their age and need replacement. The T-129 attack helicopter is also being offered for export.

The T-129 is a derivative of Italian A-129 Mangusta, modified to suit Turkish needs. It is being assembled in Turkey. This attack helicopter uses Turkish high-tech avionics, ωɛλρσɳ systems, mission computer, self-protection suites and some other systems. The new helicopter also has upgraded engines, transmission and rotor blades. The T-129 is optimized to operate in hot climate and high altitudes.

The T-129 is a lightweight attack helicopter. It is much smaller and much lighter than contemporary US and Russian attack helicopters. It uses LHTEC CTS800-4N engines, that are manufactures in Turkey under license. It is a version of the T800 engine, developed by Rolls-Royce and Honeywell. The original engine was developed for the US RAH-66 Comanche stealthy reconnaissance and attack helicopter. After cancellation of the Comanche programme this engine found use on other helicopters. The Turkish helicopter has a five-blade main rotor system.

The T-129 gunship has a 20 mm three-barrel cannon in a nose turret. It can also carry Stinger air-to-air missiles or unoperated rockets. The T-129A is an initial production model. Nine of these helicopters were ordered in Italy to meet urgent operational requirement. All of these machines were delivered between 2014-2015. Later production helicopters, the T-129B are capable of carrying UMTAS advanced anti-tank guided missiles. These missiles were developed by Roketsan and are similar to Hellfire II. Later all T-129A helicopters are planned to be upgraded to T-129B standard in order to carry these missiles.

Turkey also developed for this helicopter an advanced fire control radar. Development was completed in 2012. It is similar to US Longbow, used by the AH-64D. It allows to fire anti-tank guided missiles in fire-and-forget mode.

Variants:

T-129A is an initial production model. It is equivalent to Italian A-129 CBT. Nine of these helicopters were ordered in Italy to meet urgent operational requirement. All of these machines were delivered in 2014. Improved T-129B helicopters are capable of carrying UMTAS advanced anti-tank guided missiles. These missiles were developed by Roketsan and are similar to Hellfire II. Later all T-129A helicopters are planned to be upgraded to T-129B standard in order to carry these missiles.

T-129B is an improved production model, assembled in Turkey. These helicopters are capable of carrying UMTAS anti-tank guided missiles. The first batch of 9 helicopters was completed in 2015-2016. Another 9 helicopters followed in 2017. It was planned that in 2018 another 11 helicopters will be delivered.

Source:http://www.military-today.com/helicopters/t129.htm>

Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.