US stalls Turkey’s fighter helicopter sale to Pakistan

US stalls Turkey’s fighter helicopter sale to Pakistan

The US has stalled the sale of Turkish-made T129 ATAK helicopter gunships to Pakistan, days ahead of the first meeting between PM Imran Khan and President Trump, a media report said on Friday.

Turkey and Pakistan signed a $1.5 billion deal for the Turkish-made helicopter gunships on July 13, 2018. The delivery date of the first helicopter was pushed back after the Pentagon last year “refused” to issue the Turkish firm with an export license for the delivery of the gunships’ CTS800 engines, which was part of the T129 ATAK helicopter, the EurAsian Times reported on Friday.

T129 ATAK ia s multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter. Developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries with partner AgustaWestland, the helicopter is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.

The US’ decision is part of the Trump administration’s move not to provide any security assistance to Pakistan till the time it takes decisive and irreversible actions against terrorist groups. While Turkey is exploring the possibility of engines from other suppliers in Poland and France, the US decision would delay in delivery of T129 ATAK helicopters to Pakistan. The deal was for the delivery of 30 of these helicopters.

Procurement of such helicopters would have given more teeth to Pakistan’s airpower as its current AH-1F Cobra gunships lack the capability to perform adequately over the higher altitudes of the Hindu Kush mountain range, separating Afghanistan and Pakistan, the EurAsian Times reported.

PTI