By Priam Nepomuceno

NEW ‘ATAK’ HELICOPTERS. One of the two newly-delivered Turkish Aerospace Industries T-129 in Sangley Point, Cavite in this May 17, 2024 photo. The Philippine Air Force’s (PAF) 15th Strike Wing received two more Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129 “Atak” helicopters which would be used for territorial defense, aerial surveillance and reconnaissance, counter-insurgency combat operations, and combat support operations. (Photo courtesy of the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing)

MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has formally received two more Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T-129 ‘Atak’ helicopters.

In a Facebook (FB) post on Sunday, the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing said it received the two helicopters, with tail numbers 1505 and 1506, in simple rites presided by Air Command Command chief Maj. Gen. Araus Robert F. Musico and 15th Strike Wing commander Brig, Gen. Juliano C. Llarenas at the Atienza Air Base, Sangley Point, Cavite City on May 17.

“The two T-129 ‘Atak’ helicopters performed a low pass before landing on the active runway. Upon taxiing and exiting, a water cannon salute was rendered to the two aircraft – the traditional and ceremonial welcome to honor the newly procured attack helicopters of the 15th Strike Wing,” it added.

“The acquisition of the T-129 ‘Atak’ helicopters was part of the priority projects under Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program. The T-129s with tail numbers 1505 and 1506, which were delivered last Nov. 29, 2023, are the fifth and sixth T-129 ‘Atak’ helicopters acquired through negotiated (government-to-government) procurement with Turkey. These dedicated attack helicopters are expected to enhance the combat operational capability of PAF and address the capability gap identified in urban warfare,” the FB post added.

The contract for the six T-129 “Atak” helicopters is worth USD269 million which was signed on July 20, 2020.

The first two T-129 choppers were delivered on March 9, 2022, while the second batch of two were delivered in December of the same year.

These helicopters will be utilized for territorial defense, aerial surveillance and reconnaissance, counter-insurgency combat operations and combat support operations. (PNA)