Pakistan will Purchase T-129 Multi-Role Attack Choppers form Turkey

Arif Qureshi

Islamabad: Turkey and Pakistan are likely to sign an important defense deal which will further enhance already existing defense ties between old friends who are joint partner and cooperate closely with each other at the regional and multinational forums through the platforms of UN, OIC, ECO and D-8. According to source it was decided last week in a series of meetings between newly appointed Minister of National Defense of Turkey Mr. Fikri Isik and civil and military leadership of Pakistan.

During his stay in Islamabad Mr. Fikri Isik made series of meetings with President Mamnoon Hussain, his Counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Rashad Mahmood, Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, Naval Chief Admiral Muhammad Zakullah and Chief of Air Staff. In which Leadership of Pakistan and Turkey stressed the need to further extend already existing bilateral relations.

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After the meeting between defense minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and Minister of National Defense of Turkey Fikri Isik, a Turkish news network Anadolu News Agency reported some details about the expected deals but Pakistan foreign office declined to share all details regarding the defense deal. A high level source in ministry of foreign affairs confirmed to “The Fortress” about the upcoming defense deals.

Pakistan will buy four T-129 multi-role attack helicopters. Both the sides had agreed on the agreement during the last meeting of defense ministers of the two countries. The T-129 is a multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter co-developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries and Agusta Westland. The aircraft is currently operated by the Turkish Army and is being offered for export to a number of other countries, besides Pakistan. In the past Pakistan considered the purchasing of T-129 helicopter a few years back, but ultimately opted for the Bell Helicopters AH-1Z Viper of U.S.

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Turkish Navy would upgrade three Agosta Khalid submarines and an agreement in this regard is likely to be signed end of this month between the two countries. Turkey has also shown interest to purchase Pakistani-made Super Mushshak basic trainer aircraft.

President Mamnoon Hussain called on Minister of National Defence of Turkey Mr. Fikri Isik, along with a delegation at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, Islamabad on Friday. The President praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s democratic measures and congratulated on formation of new government under the leadership of Binali Yildirim. The President also congratulated Fikri Isik on being appointed as Minister of National Defence

T129 multirole attack helicopter being developed jointly by AgustaWestland & Turkish Aerospace Industries
T129 multirole attack helicopter being developed jointly by AgustaWestland & Turkish Aerospace Industries

The President thanked Turkey for gifting Pakistan Trainer-37 aircrafts and hoped that the two brotherly countries would increase cooperation in the defence field and benefit from each other’s expertise. The President invited Turkish delegation to participate in IDEAS-2016 to be held in November this year in Pakistan, which was accepted by the Turkish defense minister.

Turkish Minister of National Defence Fikri Isik termed Pakistan-Turkish relations “as being special” and said that he is extremely happy that his first foreign visit after assuming office is to Pakistan. Mr. Isik said that cooperation between the two countries in trade and defence sectors is below actual potential and called for steps to increase bilateral collaboration in these fields.

During his meeting with Defese Minitwr Khawaja Asif Turkish Defence Minister reiterated his country’s stance to continue efforts for achieving peace in Afghanistan and hoped that the Quadrilateral Coordination Group’s efforts in this regard will bear fruit.

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Federal Minister for Defence, Khawaja Muhammad Asif while welcoming the Turkish delegation said both countries enjoy exemplary and historical relations. Both sides reiterated strong desire to deepen, broaden and strengthen their partnership in defence sector. Both sides expressed satisfaction over successful holding of 11th Round of High Level Military Dialogue Group meeting in Ankara in Oct 2015. Its next session is scheduled in Pakistan in October 2016.

In Islamabad Turkish Defence Minister first meeting was with Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Raheel Sharif, who called on him at GHQ, Rawalpindi. During the meeting, matters of mutual interest including regional security and defence collaboration came under discussion. Turkish Defence Minister appreciated Pakistan Army’s accomplishments in Operation Zarb-e-Azb and contributions of Pakistan armed forces towards regional peace and stability.

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Mr. Fikri Isik, Minister for National Defence of the Republic of Turkey, also called on General Rashad Mahmood, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi. The visiting dignitary was accompanied by a high level delegation. Matters of mutual interest with emphasis on geostrategic situation and security challenges came under discussion during the meeting. Both sides reaffirmed the resolve to further enhance the bilateral defense cooperation. The visiting dignitary lauded the professionalism of Pakistan Armed Forces and acknowledged the sacrifices rendered by Pakistan in fight against terrorism.

Last month Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan (COAS) General Raheel Sharif visit Turkey on special invitation by Turkish Government where he witnessed multi national military exercises “EFES”. Upon arrival at the exercise area, Turkish Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar, welcomed the COAS. Along with Turkish troops US, UK, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Azerbaijan, and a contingent of Pakistani Armed Forces is participating in the joint exercises. Turkish President and Def Min also attended the Exercise. Turkish President also held a separate meeting with the COAS and thanked him for Pakistan’s participation and his personal presence for witnessing the Exercise which he said, will enhance the existing close friendly ties between Pakistan and Turkey specially between the two Armed Forces.

The Writer is Editor Daily Online News Paper “The Fortress” can be reached # arifqoreshi@gmail.com 

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