Turkey To Buy 9 European A129 Attack Helicopters

IANKARA - Turkey will launch urgent talks to buy nine A129 Mangustaattack helicopters from the Italian-British manufacturer AgustaWestlandto fight separatist Kurds operating in an area near the country'sborders with Iraq and Iran, a key Turkish official announced lateTuesday.

"In an effort to meet the urgent needs of the Turkish Land ForcesCommand and as part of the ongoing attack helicopter program,negotiations for the procurement of an additional nine attackhelicopters will be launched with TUSAS," Defense Minister Vecdi Gonultold reporters after a meeting of the Defense Industry ExecutiveCommittee, Turkey's highest decision-making body on procurement.
TUSAS is the Turkish name for the Turkish Aerospace Industries, theprime contractor in Ankara's program to jointly manufacture at least 50attack helicopters with AgustaWestland. The nine helicopters will comein addition to the 50 choppers to be jointly manufactured. Theadditional nine gunships to be procured are A129 Mangustas, a seniorprocurement official said.
The Defense Industry ExecutiveCommittee's members include Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gonul,Gen. Ilker Basbug, chief of the General Staff, and Murad Bayar, head ofTurkey's procurement agency. .
Bayar's office, theUndersecretariat for Defense Industries, and AgustaWestland signed amultibillion-dollar contract in 2008 for joint production of 50 T129s,a Turkish version of the A129.
The Kurdish separatist group, theKurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), has killed scores of soldiers since itstepped up attacks on Turkish targets in the spring.
The TurkishArmy operates six AH-1W Super Cobras and more than 20 earlier modelCobra helicopters, and military officials in recent years have voicedan urgent need for additional gunships to fight the PKK.
TheT129s are expected to become operational by 2014. The latestannouncement for additional gunships represents a stopgap solutionuntil the first deliveries.

Posted in , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Powered by Blogger.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by LiteThemes.com.