Turkey successfully tested its new heavy attack helicopter, the T129B ATAK 2, on its first flight on 29 April. The helicopter is designed to provide superior firepower and mobility in various combat scenarios, especially in mountainous terrain.
The T129B ATAK 2 is an upgraded version of the T129A ATAK, which has been in service with the Turkish Armed Forces since 2014. The new helicopter has a more powerful engine, a longer range, a higher payload capacity, and improved avionics and weapons systems.
The T129B ATAK 2 is powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines, each producing 1,014 kW of power. The helicopter can fly at a maximum speed of 306 km/h and a cruise speed of 269 km/h. It has a range of 561 km and an endurance of 3 hours and 50 minutes. It can operate at an altitude of up to 6,096 m.
The T129B ATAK 2 has a five-blade main rotor and a four-blade tail rotor. It has a length of 13.45 m, a height of 3.96 m, and a width of 3.4 m. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 6,050 kg and an empty weight of 3,050 kg. It can carry up to eight passengers or four stretchers in addition to the pilot and co-pilot.
The T129B ATAK 2 is equipped with a variety of weapons and sensors to perform its missions. It has a nose-mounted 20 mm M197 three-barrel Gatling gun with 500 rounds of ammunition. It can also carry up to 12 UMTAS anti-tank missiles, four Stinger air-to-air missiles, or four CIRIT laser-guided rockets on its four hardpoints. It has a FLIR (forward-looking infrared) system, a laser rangefinder/designator, an electronic warfare suite, and a helmet-mounted display for the pilot and co-pilot.
The T129B ATAK 2 is expected to enter service with the Turkish Army in 2025. Turkey plans to produce 76 units of the new helicopter for its own use and export to other countries. The T129B ATAK 2 is seen as a competitor to other heavy attack helicopters such as the AH-64 Apache, the Mi-28 Havoc, and the Z-10 Thunderbolt.