AgustaWestland, a Finmeccanica company, is pleased to announce that the ATAK Team, comprising Turkish Aerospace Industries, Inc. (TAI), Aselsan and AgustaWestland, has successfully performed the maiden flight of the first T129 prototype. [AgustaWestland designation is AW729—Ed.]
The T129 P1 prototype helicopter’s maiden flight was successfully completed by AgustaWestland and TAI test pilots during an official ceremony held at AgustaWestland facilities in Vergiate, Italy.
The ATAK Programme was initiated with the aim to meet the 50 firm and 41 optional Attack/Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter requirement of the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLF) by the integration of high-tech avionic equipment, hardware and software which will be developed locally. The programme, in which the Turkish aviation industry is fully involved in the design, development and production phases, is running on time and on budget.
General Manager of TAI, Muharrem Dortkasli said: “It is a great privilege to be here today to witness the first flight of the T129, which will become the most advanced helicopter in its category, so satisfying the requirements of the Land Forces as well as making it very appealing to the international market. An international market in which the Turkish industry will play a primary role.
“It has been a long journey for us to come to this point. We are proud of the success the ATAK Team has generated, a success which I am sure will be followed by many others.”
[AgustaWestland CEO] Giuseppe Orsi commented: “It gives us great pleasure to celebrate today the first flight of the most modern combat helicopter in the world. This event sets a major milestone in our longstanding partnership with Turkish industry and provides clear evidence of how effective this collaboration has been in jointly developing a state-of-the-art all customer-focused solution designed and brought to life in an extraordinary timely manner.
“Today the Turkish aviation industry enters a new era at the forefront of rotorcraft technology. We are committed to further expanding such a successful cooperation in the future.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The contracts for the Turkish Attack and Reconnaissance Helicopter (ATAK) Program were signed in April 2007 and became effective in June 2008. At the time, the contract for the first 50 helicopters was valued at about 1.2 billion euros.
The ATAK Program was initiated to meet the Turkish Land Forces Command’s requirement for 50 firm and 41 optional Attack/Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopters, equipped with high-tech avionics hardware and software to be developed by Turkey.
TAI is the Prime Contractor of the ATAK Program, with ASELSAN and AgustaWestland as subcontractors. The helicopters will be manufactured at Turkey’s Center of Aerospace, TAI. The high performance new engine, Automatic Flight Control System and Air Vehicle Monitoring System will be integrated by AgustaWestland, one of the global leaders in rotorcraft industry.
The planned duration of the ATAK Program is 114 months from June 2008, and the first T129 ATAK Helicopter will be delivered in the 60th month.
The Collaboration Agreement also provides TAI with the right to sell and market the T129 ATAK Helicopter worldwide, except in Italy and the UK.)