Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) has awarded TUSAŞ Engine Industries (TEI) a contract to develop and manufacture a new indigenous turboshaft engine
. The engine will be used in Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) new clean-sheet T-625
utility helicopter, as well as the TAI T-129 ATAK
attack helicopter and TAI Hürkuş turboprop-powered trainer and light combat aircraft. At present, Ankara depends on foreign turboshaft designs, such as the General Electric T700, which require them to secure licenses and approval for exports.
Turkey has been looking to modernize its attack helicopter fleet since the mid-1990s, but the process has mostly served as an object lesson in how not to buy defense equipment. This competition faced many difficulties; after numerous snafus, technology transfer and production issues, and canceled competitions, all 3 invited American manufacturers had abandoned the competition entirely.
Even the “final” round seemed imperiled, following reports of the Turkish military’s deep dissatisfaction with the choices. Nevertheless, the competition survived long enough to pick a winner, and signed contracts with AgustaWestland. But Turkey didn’t just buy helicopters. They bought the A129 model – lock, stock, and rotor.