All is not well between Turkey and the US and at the same time USA-Pakistan relations have gone bad to worse, at least the recent developments indicate towards this quite apparently. According to the reports published in Pakistan’s national newspaper The Dawn, the United States has prevented Turkey from supplying 30 locally-made attack helicopters to Pakistan.
The news was made public by none other than Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin as he told the media that the US had blocked Turkey’s helicopter sale to Pakistan, which will likely lead to Islamabad buying it from China.
What are ATAK T-129 helicopters?
Although Turkey was all set to sell these helicopters to Pakistan, it does not have technology to manufacture the whole of the platform. Therefore, it has entered into a joint venture or partnership with AgustaWestland, an Italian aviation manufacturer. The joint venture between Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and the Italian firm has been manufacturing the T129 multirole attack helicopter for the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLF) under the attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter (ATAK) program.
Needless to say the helicopter is based on the AW129 and its predecessor the A129 Mangusta and quite renowned for it’s twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack capabilities.
What gives the US upper hand in the deal?
Since the helicopter which is based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is equipped with American engines, Turkey depends a lot on the US. The latest decision has further accentuated the fact that the new government in USA would not be mollycoddling Pakistan and in all probabilities keeps Trump’s policy intact. A large number of people and especially in Pakistan had thought that once Trump’s regime is out from the power in Capitol Hill, they would have a great time. However, there does not seem to an end to Pakistan’s misery.
The $1.5 billion deal
The defence deal for the supply of the attack helicopters has been stuck for quite a lot of time. The first time such a deal between Turkey and Pakistan was signed couple of years ago. Worth $1.5 billion the deal for the Turkish-made helicopter gunships was signed in July 2018. However, there was no guarantee from the suppliers side whether the deliver would happen since there were issue from the beginning itself. In fact, the delivery date was pushed back after the Pentagon refused to issue the Turkish company an export license for the engines.
Souring America-Turkey Defence Relations
Ever since Erdogan of Turkey started cozying with Islamists in middle-east where the US is heavily invested, especially in Syria, the relations between US and Turkey have not been good to say the best. The relations deteriorated further as Turkey decided to by S-400 from Russia as the US considers the deal against its sanctions which it imposed on Russia. In fact, the US also warned India against any such a deal with Russia for S-400 supply.
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