Turkey delivers first T129 ATAK helicopters

The first pair of six T129 ATAK helicopters for the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) arrived in the country on November 1, on board a Turkish Air Force A400M Atlas tactical transport.

Picture: Nigerian Air Force

Nigerian personnel were sent to Turkey to train on the TAI T129. Picture: Nigerian Air Force

Nigeria initially signed a contract for six T129 helicopters from Turkish Aerospace Industries in 2021. The first batch of 26 NAF pilots and maintenance personnel were sent to Turkey to train on the type in May 2023.

In August, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, predicted that the first T129s would be operational in September, but this failed to transpire, and he and defence minister Mohammed Badaru Abubakar visited Turkey on October 29 to facilitate the speedy delivery of the helicopters, which were then delivered three days later.

Two more were due to be delivered before the end of 2023, and the remaining helicopters are expected before the end of second quarter of 2024.

Jon Lake

Jon Lake

Jon is defence editor for both Arabian and African Aerospace magazines.