Turkey selected the AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta International (right) Mar. 30 in a competition that took 12 years. Turkey had narrowed the selection to AgustaWestland’s aircraft and the CSH-2 Rooivalk from Denel of South Africa.
The cost of the entire program, for 90 helicopters, is expected to be $2.7 billion. However, the initial delivery of 30 A129s could cost as much as $1.2 billion. The local prime contractor is expected to be TUSAS Aerospace Industries, which would jointly manufacture the helicopters with AgustaWestland.
Although selection of the A129 is seen as a major step in the Turkish army’s modernization program, there is apparently concern among army senior staff about the final two choices. The delivery schedule proposed by AgustaWestland convinced the army that the A129 was the best choice. Under the proposed agreement, the first A129 will be delivered five years after the agreement is signed next year, making the delivery date 2013. Rising tensions in the Middle East have made the acquisition of attack helicopters a top Turkish priority.
Neither Bell Helicopter, with its AH-1W, nor Boeing, with its AH-64, bid on the Turkish contract. They cited Turkish requirements that under U.S. law they were unable to meet.