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Turkey orders additional attack aircraft

The T129 helicopter, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
The T129 helicopter, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

FARNBOROUGH, England, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- The Turkish military has contracted AgustaWestland for nine additional T129 attack helicopters in their basic configuration.

Turkish Aerospace Industries will conduct the assembly of the aircraft and deliver them to the Turkish Land Forces Command by the middle of 2012.

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The contract for the aircraft is valued at $209 million.

"I am delighted that the order for nine additional T129 helicopters has been executed today at SSM," AgustaWestland Chief Executive Officer Giuseppe Orsi said. "The announcement at this stage of the program confirms again customer's confidence in the capabilities of the platform as well as the ability of the ATAK Team to manage on schedule the development of the most important Turkish aerospace program ever.

"Moreover it confirms how the partnership between AgustaWestland and its partners is able to effectively respond to customer's urgent requirements allowing the Turkish Land Forces to achieved T129 operational readiness one year earlier."

Turkey had earlier ordered 51 of the aircraft as part of its ATAK program.

TAI is the program's prime contractor.

AgustaWestland said the T129 program continues to the planned schedule. Both the system requirements review and preliminary design review were completed in 2009 and the critical design review will be completed soon.

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The T129 has a cruising speed of 167 mph, a 20mm Gatling gun and can be armed with rockets and missiles.

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