TAI/AgustaWestland T-129

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T-129
Role Attack helicopter
National origin Italy / Turkey
Manufacturer Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) / AgustaWestland
First flight 28 September 2009
Status In development/flight testing
Primary user Turkish Army
Program cost US$3.2 billion[1]
Developed from Agusta A129 Mangusta

The TAI/AgustaWestland T-129 (AgustaWestland designation AW729) is an attack helicopter primarily for the Turkish Army. A derivative version of the Agusta A129 Mangusta, the T-129 is being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), with AgustaWestland as the primary partner.

Contents

Design and development

Turkey announced on 30 March 2007 that it had decided to negotiate with AgustaWestland to co-develop and produce 51 (with 40 options) attack helicopters based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta.[2][3] Based on the A129 International, the helicopters will be assembled in Turkey by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) as the T-129. A contract was signed on 7 September 2007 worth $1.2 billion.[4][5] Turkey's name for the project is "ATAK".[6]

On 22 June 2008, the agreement between TUSAS Aerospace Industries (TAI) and AgustaWestland formally entered into force. It has been confirmed that the T-129 will be a 100% Turkish-built platform. Under the agreement, TAI will develop an indigenous mission computer, avionics, weapons systems, self-protection suites and the helmet-mounting cuing systems. Tusaş Engine Industries (TEI) will manufacture the LHTEC CTS800-4N engines under licence. Under the agreement, Turkey has full marketing and intellectual property rights for the T-129 platform; Turkey can export or transfer of the platform to third countries, excluding Italy and the United Kingdom.[7]

The T-129 has several key improvements over the original A129 inline with the requirements of the Turkish Army.[8] The T-129 will carry 12 Roketsan-developed UMTAS anti-tank missiles (Turkish indigenous development similar to Hellfire II).[9] It will use the more powerful LHTEC T800 (CTS800-4) engine.[10]

The T-129 will feature a 20 mm gatling-style cannon in a nose turret. It will be able to carry combination of 70 mm rocket pods, Stinger air-air missile pods, and gun pods on its stub wing pylons.[11]

On 16 July 2007, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK), Meteksan Savunma Sanayii AŞ and Bilkent University formed a consortium for the development of an advanced millimetre wave radar (MILDAR), similar to the Longbow and the IAI/ELTA radars. It is planned that the radar will enter service in mid-2009.[12][13] The MILDAR project was successfully completed in February 2012.[14]

A media report indicates that the 51 T-129 attack helicopters will be assigned as follows. One helicopter will be kept by the Turkish Ministry of Defense and will be used as a test-bed for systems development. The remaining 50 helicopters will be delivered to the Turkish Army. An optional 40 more T-129 helicopters will be produced if necessary. The T-129 helicopters will be in two different configurations, TUC-1 and TUC-2 (TUC: Turkish Configuration).[15]

On 28 September 2009, the T-129's maiden flight took placed when P1 prototype flew at AgustaWestland's facilities in Vergiate, Italy.[16]

In November 2010, Turkey ordered an additional nine T-129s to increase its total ordered to 60.[17][18] The nine are to meet an urgent operational requirement for the Turkish Army and will be built by AgustaWestland in Italy for delivery in 2012, one year before the start of delivery of Turkish-built helicopters.[19]

Operational history

Flight testing

On the 19 March 2010, the first T-129 prototype (P1) conducted high altitude hover tests near Verbania, Italy after having completed several successful test flights. During the hover test T-129 P1 lost its tail rotor at 15,000 feet. Test pilot Cassioli regained enough control to steer away from residential area before crashing. The helicopter's crew escaped without serious injuries.[20][21]


On 17 August 2011, Turkish Aerospace Industries announced the first successful flight of the T-129 prototype "P6", that was produced at its facilities in Ankara, Turkey. The tested prototype was the first of three prototypes to be assembled in Turkey.[22]

Future and potential operators

According to news reports Azerbaijan,[23] Jordan, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea,[24] United Arab Emirates, and Philippines have shown interest in the T-129.[25]

In 2011, Saudi Arabia asked Turkey to enter a tender to produce attack helicopters for the Saudi Air Force.[26] In July 2012, it was report that the Philippines received an offer from Italy for AgustaWestland attack helicopters (either A129 or T-129).[27] In January 2013, a media report stated that South Korea's attack helicopter competition has the T-129 in the final three bidders with the Bell AH-1Z Viper and the Boeing AH-64 Apache.[28] Media reports in February 2013 indicated Azerbaijan had ordered 60 T-129 helicopters.[29] However, TAI has said they have no contract with Azerbaijan, and that the unofficial news sources "do not reflect reality."[30]

Variants

An A129 Mangusta on display at the T-129 exhibit at IDEF 07
T-129 (AgustaWestland AW729[31])
Turkish attack helicopter based on the A129 International.[32] It will be built and assembled by TAI in Turkey. The first 30 will be TUC-1, with the following aircraft will be TUC-2. Five prototypes built.
T-129 TUC-1
will have an indigenous mission computer, indigenous EW and countermeasures, Aselsan AselFLIR-300, Thales helmet-mounted cueing system,[33] and a foreign missile (either Hellfire II or Spike ER).
T-129 TUC-2
will have an indigenous mission computer, indigenous EW and countermeasures, Aselsan AselFLIR-300, Aselsan AVCI helmet-mounted cueing system, Roketsan UMTAS missile, and Roketsan Cirit Laser guided 70 mm (2.75 in) rocket.
T129A
Turkish Army designation for the combat support variant of the T129, nine to be built by TAI.
T129B
Turkish Army designation for the multi-role variant of the T129, 51 to be built by TAI.

Operators

 Turkey

Specifications (T-129)

T-129 orthographical image.svg

Data from TAI T-129 brochure[34] AgustaWestland T-129 Data[35]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2: pilot and co-pilot/gunner
  • Length: 14.6 m (47 ft 11 in)
  • Rotor diameter: 11.90 m (39 ft 0 in)
  • Height: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
  • Disc area: 111.22 m² (1,197.25 ft²)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 5,000 kg (11,023 lb)
  • Powerplant: 2 × LHTEC CTS800-4A turboshaft, 1,014 kW (1,361 shp) each
  • Rotor systems: 5 blades on main rotor

Performance

Armament

See also

Portal icon Aviation portal
Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
Related lists

References

  1. ^ (Turkish) 2010 Annual Report, p. 46, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, Retrieved 28 July 2011
  2. ^ "Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter Procurement Program". Turkey Undersecretariat for Defence Industries
  3. ^ "Turkey Announces the Start of Contract Negotiations With AgustaWestland for the ATAK Project". AgustaWestland, 31 March 2007.
  4. ^ "Turkey Finally Lands Its Attack Helicopters". Defense Industry Daily, 28 March 2012.
  5. ^ Ozbek, Tolga. "AgustaWestland 129 to be model for Turkish ATAK". Flight International, 14 September 2007.
  6. ^ T-129 ATAK page. Turkish Aerospace Industries
  7. ^ (Turkish) "ATAK Helikopter Projesi'nde mutlu son", Milliyet, 22 June 2008.
  8. ^ Verification on T-129 and modifications
  9. ^ Defense Technology International, September 2007. p. 46., Aviation Week.
  10. ^ TEI News 2010, p. 7, Tusaş Engine Industries, Inc.
  11. ^ T129 ATAK Multirole Combat Helicopter. TIA
  12. ^ Kara Hedef Angajmanı İçin Milimetrik Dalga Radar Teknikleri Geliştirilmesi Projesi Sözleşmesi İmza Töreni, 16 Temmuz 2007.
  13. ^ MILDAR (Milimeter Wave Radar) Capabilities. meteksansavunma.com.tr
  14. ^ "MILDAR Projesi Süresinde ve Bütçesi İçinde Başarı ile Tamamlandı". Meteksan. http://www.meteksan.com/tr/bilgi/haberler/107-mildar-kapanis-toereni. Retrieved 3 September 2012.
  15. ^ Savunma ve Havacılık (Defence and Aerospace) magazine. Issue no: 122. October 2007. pp. 26-28.
  16. ^ "ATAK team flies first T129 prototype". Flight Global.
  17. ^ "Turkey Orders Nine More T129 Helicopters For The Land Forces Command". AgustaWestland, 8 November 2010.
  18. ^ a b Hoyle, Craig. "Turkey signs for more T129 attack helicopters ". Flight International, 9 November 2010.
  19. ^ Defense News, 29 November 2010, p. 26 "Seeking Top Role in Turkey"
  20. ^ PICTURE: Turkey's first T129 attack helicopter crashes
  21. ^ ASN Wikibase Occurrence #73522, Aviation Safety Network, 21 March 2010.
  22. ^ [1]. TAI press release
  23. ^ "Azerbaijan to buy Turkish military helicopters"
  24. ^ "Korea-Turkey Procurement Imbalance"
  25. ^ "Turkey Presses Ahead with its Attack Helicopter Project". jamestown.org, 29 September 2009.
  26. ^ http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-21/turkey-asked-to-compete-in-saudi-helicopter-bid-sabah-says.html
  27. ^ Cohen, Michael and James Hardy "Philippine air chief says Italy will provide attack helicopters" Jane's Information Group, 20 July 2012.
  28. ^ HaberTurk, "Atak in news". Haberturk, 30 January 2013.
  29. ^ http://en.trend.az/news/politics/2115201.html
  30. ^ "TAI refutes reports that Azerbaijan ordered 60 T-129 ATAK helicopters". APA.az, 4 February 2013.
  31. ^ ATAK Team Announce T129 Maiden Flight, Defense Aerospace.
  32. ^ A129CBT per this source. Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc.
  33. ^ Aselsan selects Thales for Turkey’s ATAK T129 helicopter helmet-mounted cueing system
  34. ^ T-129 ATAK Brochure. Turkish Aerospace Industries
  35. ^ T129 Technical Data. AgustaWestland.

External links