MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday clarified that the two Turkish-made T129 "ATAK" attack helicopters have yet to arrive in the country, despite reports circulating online that these have arrived on Jan. 8.
"Contrary to information circulating online, as of 9 January 2021 the first two units of TAI (Turkish Aerospace Industries) T129 ATAK Helicopters have not arrived in (the) country," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.
He added that the DND will issue updates regarding the project as soon as they become available.
Then Philippine Air Force chief, Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes, said the first two units out of the six ordered from TAI were scheduled for delivery last December.
The DND did not provide a reason why the delivery of the helicopters did not push through as scheduled.
The six T129 attack helicopters were acquired for a total contract price of USD269,388,862 (about PHP12.9 billion) from the Turkish Aerospace Industries through a government-to-government mode of procurement under Republic Act 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.
The T129 is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana signed the contract for the acquisition of the Turkish attack helicopters in July 2020.
The PAF is looking at acquiring dedicated but affordable attack helicopters to beef up its fleet of lightly-armed helicopters, such as the MG-520 and AW-109E that are being used for counter-terror and ground support missions. (PNA)