The prototype of Turkey’s first indigenous heavy-class attack helicopter, the T929 ATAK-2, has successfully started its engine for the first time.
The helicopter, developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), is now set to undergo engine ground testing before its maiden flight.
“About two years ago, a decision was made to fly early. We also started and accelerated our work on early flight decision,” TAI Chief Engineer Mehmet Yılmaz told Anadolu Agency. “We have been producing parts and supplying equipment for about a year, and we have completed the body and final assembly of our helicopter in the last three to four months.”
Once the engine ground testing is complete, a rolling test will follow, and the helicopter will take to the skies on its maiden flight. The ground engine test campaign is expected to last a week.
Equipped with two 2,500-horsepower TV3-117VMA-SBM1V Series 1 engines, supplied by Ukraine’s engine maker Motor Sich, the ATAK-2 helicopter is designed to have a payload capacity of 1.5 tons, with a 30-millimeter cannon and six hardpoints.
The development of the T929 ATAK-2, also known as the Heavy Class Attack Helicopter Project, was contracted by the Turkish Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) in 2019 as part of Turkey’s objective to increase its domestic defense capabilities and reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers.
It is based on the experience gained from the T129 ATAK, a Turkish variant of the Agusta A.129 Mangusta and the primary attack helicopter of the Turkish armed forces.