Pakistan denies cancellation of helicopter deal with Turkey

A T129 attack helicopter developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, performs during the Dubai Air Show, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

The Pakistan army has rejected some media reports that Pakistan has canceled a T-129 ATAK helicopter deal with Turkey.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, clarified that speculation over the cancellation of Pakistan’s deal for acquiring T-129 ATAK helicopters from Turkey is baseless.

The Director-General of ISPR, Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, explaining Pakistan’s defense procurement needs, said Pakistan’s armed forces are continuously enhancing their capacity and upgrading technology while remaining cognizant of the threat and operational requirements.

“While answering a question related to Pakistan’s deal with Turkiye for acquiring T-129 ATAK helicopters, the statement made by The Director General of ISPR was misconstrued on some digital media platforms,” ISPR said on Friday.

“It is clarified that Pakistan has never ruled out an acquisition of military helicopters from Turkiye. All speculations in this regard are baseless,” the statement said.

The ATAK helicopters are Ankara’s first domestic aircraft product.

The helicopter was developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) under license from the Italian-British AgustaWestland and it was added to the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) in 2014.

A tandem seat, twin-engine, NATO-interoperable helicopter developed for the attack, armed reconnaissance, precision strike and deep strike missions under any weather conditions.

Before the two countries inked the deal, the choppers were tested in Pakistan. Pakistan and Turkey are traditional allies and have a strong defence and economic ties. 

The two countries have enjoyed good relations since the foundation of the two states in the first half of the 20th century despite being under the rule of different governments and military regimes.

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