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US blocks Turkey attack helicopter deal with Pakistan Turkey-Pakistan-USA

US blocks Turkey attack helicopter deal with Pakistan

South Asia Monitor/IBNS | @indiablooms | 11 Mar 2021, 02:09 pm

The United States has blocked Turkey from supplying 30 locally-made attack helicopters to Pakistan, reported Bloomberg citing diplomatic sources in Washington. The blockade came as a response to Turkey buying the S-400 missile defense system from Russia.

According to Bloomberg News, Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said , "the US has blocked Turkey's helicopter sale to Pakistan, which will likely lead to Islamabad buying it from China." The blockade could "cause more harm" to US interests, he added.

The ATAK T-129 is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform and is equipped with American engines.

The US is holding export clearance for supplying engines for the helicopter, the report said.

In July 2018, Turkey and Pakistan signed a $1.5 billion deal for the Turkish-made helicopter gunships. The delay in approval causing Turkey to repeatedly extend the delivery date for the helicopters.

Developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) in partnership with a European firm, Agusta, the ATAK T-129 helicopter is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance missions in hot and high environments in both day and night conditions.

The United States announced the first blockade in July 2019, days before a meeting between the former US president, Donald Trump, and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Washington.

In January 2020, the head of Turkey's Defence Industries (SSB) said that Ankara and Islamabad had extended the delivery deal by another year to ensure a smooth delivery. According to a report on The Daily Star, the agreement gives Pakistan the option to buy the Chinese Z-10 helicopters should the Turkish deal not materialize.