Turkey Launches Full-Scale Development of the ATAK-2 Attack Helicopter
(Source: Defense-Aerospace.com; posted Feb 26, 2019)
Ismail Demir (C), head of Turkey’s Defence Industries, with the President and CEO of TAI, Temel Kotil (R) and TUSAS Chairman Oğuz Borat after signing the full-scale development contract for the ATAK-2 attack helicopter on Feb. 22. (TAI photo).
PARIS --- The Turkish Defence Industry Presidency (SSB), formerly known as the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, on Feb 22 awarded Turkish Aerospace Industries a contract for the full-scale development of the ATAK-2 heavy combat helicopter.

Designed as a combination of the T129 ATAK anti-tank helicopter and the T625 utility helicopter, ATAK 2 will use some sub-systems and components of the T625, such as transmission, rotor systems and landing gear, combined with the technological know-how, operational experience and achievements gained through the T129 ATAK Helicopter Project – a Turkish-designed and improved variant of the Agusta A-129 Mangusta.

This will reduce development costs as well as provide technical commonality, reducing operating costs especially for those operating both ATAK-2 and the T625, when it enters service.

The first ATAK-2 is designed to make its maiden flight within five years of contract signature, or in early 2024.

ATAK 2 is intended to operate in harsh geographical and environmental conditions, and will have an increased payload while offering high performance and low maintenance costs.

SSB says that the ATAK-2 will have a maximum take-off weight double that of the T129 now in service, which implies an MTOW of around 10 tonnes, although some Turkish reports have mentioned 8 tonnes.

Besides being heavier than the T129, ATAK-2 will also feature other improvements over its predecessor, such as an increased payload, updated avionics and improved sensors.

While ATAK-2 is designed to a ten-tonne maximum take-off weight (MTOW), some reports claim it will weigh closer to eight tonnes. This has been taken as confirmation that, alongside the 10-tonne ATAK-2, Turkey will develop a heavier transport helicopter in the same weight class, thereby creating a similar but much heavier family than the T129 / T625 pairing of attack and transport helicopter now flying. Such a "ten tonne transport helicopter" is summarily described on the website of TAI, but not on that of SSB.

“The heavy class attack helicopter project has been signed with TAI. The helicopter to be developed will have approximately two times take-off weight of ATAK helicopter as one of the world’s top-class attack helicopters,” the SSB said in a short statement on its Twitter account.

In its own tweet, Turkish Aerospace also underlined the fact that the new helicopter is very much aimed at the export market as well as to Turkish requirements, saying “Along with new-generation mission equipment, superior payload and operational capabilities, the helicopter is expected to bring dynamism to world market.”

TAI and SSB have also agreed to use as great a proportion as possible of locally-manufactured parts and components to avoid any possible foreign restrictions on future exports.

The need to rely on nationally-manufactured components clearly implies that development of ATAK-2 is closely tied to TUSAŞ Engine Industries’ (TEI) turboshaft engine program. The first of TEI’s 1,400 shp engines are scheduled for completion in 2019, with the development of the engine platform requiring up to eight years (IHS Jane’s).

If brought to fruition, this would be a robust helicopter family, from a dedicated attack helicopter paired with a closely related utility helicopter to a 10-ton multi-role helicopter (that may also draw on the same family of engine and dynamic parts technology).

Besides leveraging domestic industry arms around a new, common project, the idea of entering an entire helicopter family using common subsystems and parts could be attractive to prospective overseas partners seeking to develop their industries or setting the basis for helicopter manufacturing.

The notion of investing in one program to yield multiple results is appealing, as Quwa.com noted.

For the time being, only generic information has been provided about the ATAK-2s sensor and weapons package. What is known is that it will be fitted with the millimetric wave radar developed by Metrican Defense and an unspecified DIRCM system to protect against infra-red guided missiles.

General characteristics
-- Service Ceiling: 20.000ft
-- Maximum speed: 172 kts
-- HOGE Capability: 6,000ft at MTOW by 35°C
-- Operational envelope: -40° to +50°C
-- Armor: 12.7mm-resistant armored cockpit
-- Weapon payload: 1,200kg
-- Weapon systems:
*30mm automatic cannon
* 2.75 '' Unguided Rockets
* 2.75 '' Guided Missile
* Anti-Tank Missile
* Air-Air Missile
-- Weapon Stations: 6 stations
-- Basic Equipment:
* 4 Axis Autopilot
* Modular Avionics Architecture
* Target Detection Radar
* Target Detection System
* Helmet Integrated Imaging System

With information from Jane’s, Quwa and Turkish media

Story history:
-- Feb 27, 2019 @ 05:30 CET: edited a central paragraph to clarify that ATAK-2 will weigh about 10 metric tonnes.


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