The first overseas delivery of the Turkish-made T129 Attack and Tactical Reconnaissance Helicopter was made to the Philippine Air Force.
A ceremony was held at Col Jesus Villamor Air Base, as two ATAK helicopters and a C-295 transport aircraft was accepted into the inventory of the Philippine Air Force.
The ceremony was attended by military and civilian officials including Philippines Defense Minister Delfin Negrillo Lorenzana, head of Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) İsmail Demir from Turkey, Turkey's Ambassador to Manila Artemiz Sümer, Turkish Aerospace CEO Temel Kotil, ASELSAN Chairman and General Manager Haluk Görgün, ROKETSAN General Manager Murat İkinci and Philippine Air Force Commander Major General Connor Anthony Canlas.
Speaking at the ceremony, Lorenzana said it was a "great day" for the Philippine Air Force due to the new deliveries.
Emphasizing that the ATAK helicopter is a first for the Philippines, Lorenzana stated that they have restructured their fleet in this area. Stating that the ATAK helicopter will support the Philippines' fight against terrorism, Lorenzana said, "I am very happy that the dream of the Philippine Air Force has come true, but we still have a long way to go to fully equip our house."
Turkish defense industry companies have so far exported a number of products to the Philippines, including armored vehicles, ammunition, light arms and night vision binoculars.
The cooperation between the two countries in the defense industry gained momentum with the Declaration of Intent signed between the SSB and the Philippines Ministry of Defense at the International Defense Industry Fair in Istanbul in 2017. The memorandum of understanding signed in the Philippines in 2018 opened the door for the export of a number of products, including ATAK helicopters. In this context, a contract was signed for 6 ATAK helicopters in 2020.
With the successful completion of acceptance and testing activities, the first 2 helicopters entered the Philippine Air Force inventory. Spare parts and ground support devices were delivered as well. While 4 pilots and 19 technicians have been trained so far, a total of 13 pilots will receive training.
Within the scope of the sale of the second package of ATAK helicopters, a draft price offer was given to the Philippines and negotiations were started.