In a lift in direction of its battle in opposition to Boko Haram militants, the Nigerian Air Power (NAF) has acquired the primary batch of two TAI T-129 ATAK assault helicopters from Turkey.
The event marks a big enhancement in Nigeria’s navy capabilities within the long-running effort to modernize its protection forces and preserve its standing as one of many main navy in Africa.
The procurement preceded a two-year negotiation between Nigerian protection officers and Turkey’s Tusas Engine Industries (TAI) via 2021 and 2022.
“This engagement resulted in a contract for the procurement of six TAI T-129 ATAK helicopters being signed by Nigeria in July 2022, with an estimated unit worth of US$45 million,” mentioned a report on Military Africa.
Nigeria has additionally employed Chinese language-made Wing Loong 2 unmanned fight aerial automobiles (UCAV) within the battle in opposition to Boko Haram, and it may be anticipated to face much more complicated operations by Abuja.
Nonetheless, this additionally marks assault helicopters changing into an emblem of the Turkish protection business and navy exports after carving a distinct segment in fight UAVs just like the TB-2 Bayraktar and the Ankinci drones.
ATAK Assaults the Assault Helicopter Market
The dual-engine lightweight-class T129 was designed and manufactured collectively by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and Italy’s AgustaWestland. The Philippines obtained 4 of its six T129 ATAK helicopters, with the remaining two to be delivered by 2024, and has been reported to be contemplating shopping for one other six.
In 2018, Pakistan opted to amass T-129s to interchange its fleet of AH−1F Cobras. Islamabad had signed a $1.5B take care of TAI for 30 T129s. Nonetheless, the US declined to problem the export license for the engines.
The ATAK’s T-8004A turboshaft engines are an export model of the LHTEC T800-4A energy plant, a three way partnership between US agency Honeywell and British protection and Aero Engine prime Rolls-Royce. Washington has stalled its exports over the Turkish acquisition of the Russian S-400 air protection system.
Iraq’s protection minister had introduced a plan to buy 12 ATAK models, whereas Ankara can be taking a look at Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Brazil as potential prospects.
Reviews mentioned a Turkish Air Power A400M cargo aircraft carrying the T-129 assault helicopters touched down on the NAF Headquarters Tactical Air Command in Makurdi, Benue State, on November 1. It took off from the TAI facility close to Ankara.
Nigeria had lastly settled on the ATAK after negotiating with worldwide producers, together with European-based Airbus. However a go to by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Nigeria in October 2021 accelerated the deal.
Nigeria additionally operates a various fleet of assault helicopters, together with the AgustaWestland AW-109 and the Russian Mi-24/Mi-35. It’s set to obtain 12 US-made AH-1Z Viper assault helicopters for a US$875-million deal.
Not too long ago, Nigeria was eager to discover the Indian-built Mild Fight Plane (LCA) Tejas, Mild Fight Helicopter (LCH) ‘Prachand,’ Mild Utility Helicopter (LUH), and Superior Mild Helicopter (ALH) ‘Dhruv.’
HAL officers had confirmed to the EurAsian Occasions that Nigerian representatives had seen the plane however are but to fly them. The negotiations are nonetheless in preliminary stages.
Protection Advisor to Nigerian Excessive Fee in India Commodore Anthony Victor Kujoh famous in 2022: “Nigeria wouldn’t solely wish to additional improve the enterprise relationship with HAL for coaching, but in addition in direction of asset acquisition.”
The arrival of the T-129 ATAK helicopters is anticipated to reinforce Abuja’s counterterrorism efforts, because the Turkish plane has a big reconnaissance and surveillance functionality, given the presence of a strong nose-mounted electro-optical turret.
Nigeria may also be anticipated to attempt to function its Chinese language Wing Loong drones and the Turkish helicopters collectively, experimenting with the models utilizing the drones, and the choppers can operate collectively in joint reconnaissance-strike missions.
Such an important integration won’t require technical intervention from the Chinese language and Turkish producers. It could solely be a logical subsequent step to fuse two high-performance aerial fight techniques that may complement one another’s capabilities.
It could be attention-grabbing to see how the safety state of affairs evolves in Nigeria for the NAF to make use of its full capabilities the place the T129 and Wing Loong drones function collectively. It’s a matter of the models flying the drones and the helicopters to evolve techniques and procedures to deal with the completely different but mutually supporting air-to-ground fight platforms.
ATAK Helicopter & Deliberate TB-2 Acquisition
The TAI T-129 ATAK is a flexible and extremely maneuverable twin-engine assault helicopter well-suited for numerous missions, together with border patrol, search and rescue, and hearth assist.
If not the Wing Loong drones, the Nigerian Air Power (NAF) will certainly fuse the T129 ATAK with Turkey’s personal TB-2 Bayraktar, as Nigerian protection information handles have repeatedly hinted.
On August 19, @DefenseNigeria posted on X (previously Twitter) as part of a thread on the NAF stock and modernization program that it might probably transcend working its “barely 50% capability (when it takes) supply of the AH-1Z Viper assault helicopter, M346-FA multi-role fighter, T-129 ATAK helicopter, TB2 drones amongst others.”
Air Recognition on August 30, quoting numerous Nigerian political figures, regional governors, and Senators related to its navy acquisition processes, mentioned Abuja was on the way in which to obtain six TB-2 models. It additionally acknowledged that Nigerian UAV pilots and technical crew had been present process coaching in Turkey.