First Nigerian Air Force T-129 Atak helicopters spotted on X ahead of delivery
The first image of two Nigerian Air Force (NAF) T129 Atak helicopters has reportedly been shared on social media platform X (formerly Twitter), with deliveries anticipated to commence ‘in the coming weeks’.
One of the helicopters’ serial number appears to be NAF500, with the other one in the background hardly visible in the image, shared by X user @Jackepor21.
Nigeria and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) announced the deal for six T129 attack helicopters during the Farnborough Air Show in 2022.
The sighting of the image comes around the same time when the NAF announced on its official Facebook account that Nigeria defence minister Mohammed Badaru Abubakar and Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, chief of the air staff for Nigeria, visited Turkey to facilitate the speedy delivery of the T129 Atak helicopters acquired.
Abubakar had reportedly held talks with his Turkish counterpart Yaşar Güler on bilateral and defence cooperation issues. The Nigerian officials visited Turkish defence companies including T129 Atak manufacturer TAI. The defence minister called for improved synergy between the companies and Nigeria through the transfer of defence technology to Nigeria, according to the Facebook post.
The social media post also said the first two helicopters will be delivered to the NAF ‘in the coming weeks’.
‘The remaining helicopters are expected before the end of second quarter of 2024,’ the service's post noted.
TAI and Leonardo jointly developed the T129 Atak tandem two-seat, twin-engine helicopter. It was designed for attack and reconnaissance missions. Although developed from the Leonardo A129CBT, it incorporated a new engine, avionics, electro-optics, weapons, a modified airframe, an uprated drivetrain and a new tail rotor.
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