Asymmetric Dialogue

Philippines edges towards T129 procurement

Summary The Philippines DND has edged closer to a decision to procure the TAI T129 ATAK
A technical working group attached to the Philippine Air Force has identified Turkish Aerospace Industries’ T129 platform (pictured here) as meeting its combat utility helicopter (CUH) requirement. 



The Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) has edged closer to a decision to procure the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK multirole combat helicopter to meet a long-standing requirement in the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

A procurement team set up by the PAF in support of its combat utility helicopter (CUH) programme has identified the T129 platform as fulfilling its capability demands, although the procurement project has not yet been finalised.

Arsenio Andolong, the DND's chief of public affairs, told Jane's on 29 November, "The DND is considering the acquisition of the T129 attack helicopter from Turkey, among other options, based on the recommendation of the technical working group of the Philippine Air Force. It should be noted, however, that the acquisition project is still in its initial stages and nothing is final at this point."

Andolong's comments come a few days after the Commanding General of the PAF, Lieutenant General Galileo Kintanar, reportedly disclosed that the T129 was the technical working group's preferred option for the service's CUH programme. The PAF is understood to have passed a recommendation to procure the T129 onto the DND, which is now expected to engage with TAI on the potential acquisition.

The acquisition is expected to be facilitated through a government-to-government deal between the Philippines and Turkey, possibly involving credit provided by Turk Eximbank, Turkey's official export credit agency.

In recent years, defence ties between the countries has grown stronger through diplomatic channels and earlier this year the Philippines and Turkey agreed to expand defence industrial collaboration. Turkey's only previous defence export to the Philippines was the sale of seven ACV-15 tracked armoured vehicles made by FNSS Savunma Sistemleri. These vehicles were delivered from 2010.