TAI begins development of ATAK 2 heavy attack helicopter Lale Sariibrahimoglu - Jane's Defence Weekly
02 November 2017
Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) announced on 31 October that it has begun domestic development of the ATAK 2 attack helicopter.
TAI began the project to build the six-tonne ATAK 2 domestically without foreign help based on technical knowledge and operational experience gained with the T129 attack helicopter currently produced under licence from Leonardo, the company said on its website.
The ATAK 2 will be bigger and heavier than the T129.
Turkish defence industry head reveals T129 ATAK-2 program Oct 04, 2017 Bilal Khan-
The Head of Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) İsmail Demir outlined the projected capabilities and specifications of an improved variant of the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) T129 ATAK attack helicopter, provisionally designated ATAK-2.
The ATAK-2 announcement was made by Demir in his inaugural speech for Alp Aviation’s newly-opened Helicopter Business Center Facility, which will provide subassemblies for the T-70 Black Hawk, which will be manufactured under license by TAI for the domestic market and prospective export users.
According to Demir (quoted by the state-owned Anadolu Agency), the ATAK-2 will have a maximum take-off weight of 6,000 kg. Besides being heavier, the aim of the ATAK-2 is localize the supply of subsystems, freeing Turkey to exercise maximum agency in exporting the helicopter (e.g. Pakistan is to begin talks for 30 T129 ATAK attack helicopters).
The ATAK-2 will also have improvements over the ATAK, such as increased payload and updated avionics.
Anadolu Agency reports that one of the goals of the ATAK-2 is to re-utilize some of the critical components of the TAI T625 utility helicopter, such as the dynamics parts (e.g. rotor) and transmission system. This will reduce development costs as well as provide technical commonality, reducing operating costs (especially for those operating both the T625 and ATAK-2).
TAI General Manager Temel Kotil, was quoted last week saying that TAI had commenced conceptual work on an ATAK variant with a MTOW of eight tons. It is not clear if Kotil was referring to the same program as Demir.The ATAK-2, while not an eight-ton design, still aligns with the idea of a heavier platform.
Notes & Comments:
The launch of the ATAK-2 program indicates that Turkey is intending to build a complete family of original helicopter platforms. In fact, the ATAK-2 – and emphasis on technical commonality with the T625 – clearly shows that the SSM and TAI foresee military markets for the T625 and 10-ton general purpose helicopter.
The SSM’s statement also indicates that the development of the ATAK-2 is tied to TUSAŞ Engine Industries’ (TEI) turboshaft engine program. The first of TEI’s 1,400 shp engines are scheduled for completion in 2019, with the development of the engine platform requiring up to eight years (IHS Jane’s).
If brought to fruition, this would be a robust helicopter family, from a dedicated attack helicopter paired with a closely related utility helicopter to a 10-ton multi-role helicopter (that may also draw on the same family of engine and dynamic parts technology). Besides leveraging domestic industry arms to a common project, the idea of entering an entire helicopter family (drawing on common subsystems and parts) could be attractive to prospective overseas partners seeking to recapitalize their industries or setting the basis for helicopter manufacturing. The notion of investing in one program to yield multiple results is appealing.
"ATAK 2 Attack Helicopter" is designed with completely local capacities.
Conceived as a combination of T129 ATAK and T625, ATAK 2 is using the sub-systems such as transmission, rotor systems and landing gears developed under the T625 Utility Helicopter Project as well as the technological know-how, operational experience and achievements gained through the T129 ATAK Helicopter Project. ATAK 2, will be a combat helicopter that can successfully perform its missions in harsh geographical and environmental conditions, which will have increased payload capacity and modern avionic systems alongside with high performance and low maintenance cost.