From A to Z “T129 ATAK Program”

Date: Issue 105 - April 2021

The first flight test of the T129B Phase-2 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter, equipped with additional Electronic Warfare Self Protection and communication systems, was successfully performed at Turkish Aerospace facilities on November 13, 2019. Within the scope of the T129 ATAK project carried out by the Presidency of Defense Industries, a total of 60 ATAK helicopters produced by TUSAŞ have been delivered to security forces. As of February 23, 2021, TUSAŞ delivered 53 ATAK helicopters (9 T129A EDH, 44 T129B) to the Turkish Land Forces, 6 ATAK helicopters (T129B Phase-1) to the Gendarmerie General Command, and 1 ATAK helicopter (T129B Phase-2) to the General Directorate of Security.

Under the ATAK Project carried out by the Presidency of Defense Industries, TUSAŞ will produce a total of 59 T129 Tactical Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopters (9 T129A EDH and 50 T129B in two different configurations, 29 Phase-1 and 21 Phase-2) for the Turkish Land Forces, 24 T129B Helicopters (6 T129B Phase-1 and 18 T129B Phase-2) for the Gendarmerie General Command, and 9 T129B Helicopters for the General Directorate of Security (ordered in Phase-1 configuration but delivered in Phase-2 configuration). 

Although Turkish Land Forces planned to switch to Phase-2 configuration starting from the 30th (actually the 39th T129 helicopter including the 9 T129A EDH//Early Delivery Helicopters previously delivered) T129B helicopter in 2018, this plan could not be achieved because of various reasons at that time and the 13 T129Bs planned for Phase-2 were produced and delivered in Phase-1 configuration. Therefore, after the detailed tests and approval for serial production/assembly, Phase-2 configuration is expected to be applied retrospectively to the 13 T129B Phase-2 helicopters produced and delivered so far. As of February 2021, the Turkish Land Forces operates 9 T129A EDH, 41 T129B Phase-1 (one crashed during the Operation Olive Branch), and 2 T129B Phase-2 helicopters.

The main difference between the Phase-1 and Phase-2 helicopters is related to the Electronic Warfare (EW) systems. In addition to the current Phase-1 configuration, the Phase-2 helicopters include 9681 V/UHF (Very High/Ultra High Frequency) Radio and EW systems such as digital RWR (Radar Warning Receiver, capable of detecting the radar signals in C-J bands using Pulsed and Continuous Wave/CW), I-J Band RFJ (Radio Frequency Jammer, incorporates various advanced technologies such as Active Electronic Scanning Antenna/AESA), solid-state Power Amplifier & Digital RF Memory (DRFM), and LWR (Laser Warning Receiver). Phase-2 is planned to reach the best stage in terms of self-protection systems and communication systems