Diplomatic row jeopardizes $1.5B helicopter deal between Turkey and Pakistan
By: Burak Ege Bekdil 11 hours ago
ANKARA, Turkey — An escalating diplomatic crisis between NATO allies Turkey and the United States may risk suspending a $1.5 billion deal between Turkey and Pakistan for the sale of 30 Turkish-made T129 ATAK helicopter gunships.
The T129 is being produced by Turkish Aerospace Industries under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland.
“The problem is related with the U.S.-made parts for which TAI will need U.S. export licenses in order to materialize the deal,” a Turkish aerospace official said.
The T129, based on its predecessor A129 Mangusta, is a twin-engine multirole attack helicopter. The T129 is powered by two LHTEC T800-4A turboshaft engines. Each engine can produce 1,014 kilowatts of output power. The T800-4A is an export version of the CTS800 engine. LHTEC is a joint venture between the American firm Honeywell and the British company Rolls-Royce.
“Apparently we shall need U.S. export licenses to go ahead with the T129 deal,” a senior procurement official said. “This is not a technological or financial matter but is purely political at the moment.” ………………………..
“This is a commercial deal (with Pakistan) with a country that has friendly relations with America
. For Washington what matters should be the recipient of the systems, not who produces it and if relations are bumpy with the producer country,” a Turkish defense official said. “Why should the Americans punish Pakistan for their disagreements with Turkey?”
A TAI official said a U.S. embargo on the chopper deal was unlikely because it would also hurt a U.S. company as well as two British companies and one Italian. “These are not enemy producers,” he said. “They are on the ally side. And we (TAI) are not being sanctioned by the U.S. or any other ally country.”
A U.S. diplomat in Ankara refused to comment. …………………….
To finance one of the country’s largest defense and aerospace export contracts, Turkey offered Pakistan a $1.5 billion credit line in 2017, but the deal’s payment terms are unknown. ………….