After a series of delays, an official of the Turkish Aerospace Inc. (TAI) confirmed that the first batch of six T129B helicopters the government procured from Turkey will finally arrive in the Philippines.
FIRST BATCH A T129B helicopter sits on the tarmac. —PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE
Temel Kotil, general manager of TAI, said the first two T129Bs would be delivered on Saturday.
The first batch were supposed to be delivered in December. Arsenio Andolong, spokesperson for the Department of National Defense (DND), previously said the next two units would be delivered in 2023, and the last two in 2024.
Once commissioned, the helicopters will be assigned to the 15th Strike Wing of the Philippine Air Force.
In July 2020, the DND signed a contract for the acquisition of six T129B helicopters from TAI for P13.7 billion, through a government-to-government deal with the Turkish ministry of defense.
The T129B is a Turkish derivative of the Italian-designed AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta, but equipped with Turkish-developed systems and weapons. —Dexter Cabalza