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Prototype for Turkish Attack Helo Crashes

Mar. 23, 2010 - 03:45AM   |  
By UMIT ENGINSOY and BURAK EGE BEKDIL   |   Comments
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ANKARA - A prototype for the T-129, an attack helicopter being developed by the Italian-British AgustaWestland for the Turkish Army, has crashed during a test flight in Italy but the pilots survived, the program's main Turkish partner announced March 23.

"An [Agusta-made] A-129 Mangusta helicopter, being used for test purposes for our ATAK program, has crash-landed near Verbania in Italy," the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) said in a written statement.

"The two Italian pilots were injured, but their condition is not life-threatening," it said. "The accident is not expected to affect the ATAK program's development timetable."

One Turkish procurement official said the accident took place March 19.

Under Ankara's ATAK program, AgustaWestland signed a multibillion-dollar contract with Turkey in 2007 for joint manufacture with Turkish partners of at least 50 T-129 attack helicopters. T-129 is the Turkish version of Agusta's A-129.

TAI is AgustaWestland's main Turkish partner in the program.

The first T-129 is to be delivered to Turkey in 2015.

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