PAF receives final batch of TAI T129 ATAK helicopters

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has officially received the last two T129 ATAK attack helicopters it acquired from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), completing the delivery of all six units ordered under the Horizon 2 phase of the military’s modernization program.

The final pair of advanced multirole combat helicopters landed at Major Danilo Atienza Air Base in Cavite on May 17 and underwent a ceremonial blessing, according to a PAF statement. They were given a traditional water cannon salute as they arrived on the flightline.

“These helicopters, known for their high performance in hot, high, and maritime conditions, are expected to significantly enhance the air force’s combat capabilities, particularly in urban warfare scenarios,” the PAF release stated.

Air Combat Command chief Maj. Gen. Araus Robert F. Musico, 15th Strike Wing commander Brig. Gen. Juliano C. Llarenas, and other unit leaders from the wing and base attended the ceremony welcoming the new helicopters into PAF service.

“The acquisition is part of the Horizon 2 of the AFP Modernization Program,” the PAF noted, referring to the second phase of a multi-year plan to upgrade the capabilities of the Philippine military.

The first two T129 ATAK helicopters arrived in March 2022, followed by another pair in November of that year. This final batch had been in the Philippines since late November 2023 undergoing inspections before formally joining the PAF’s inventory.

“These helicopters performed a low pass before landing at the base, receiving a traditional water cannon salute,” according to the PAF. “A blessing ceremony followed, marking the official entry of the T129s into the PAF fleet.”

Manufactured by TAI, the T129 ATAK is a twin-engine attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta. It is designed for advanced attack, armed reconnaissance, and ground support operations with specialized sensors, weapons, and countermeasures.

The PAF touted the T129’s performance in “hot, high, and maritime conditions,” key factors for operations in the Philippine archipelago’s diverse climates and regions.

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