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Additional Attack Helicopter (Attack Helicopter Phase 3) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force

With the successful deal between the Philippines Department of National Defense (DND) and the Turkish Ministry of Defense (MOD) for the procurement of T129B ATAK attack helicopters from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) for the Philippine Air Force (PAF), it is logical for additional orders to be made instead of purchasing another batch of attack helicopters from another manufacturer.

In this resource page, we will discuss the planned acquisition of additional T129B ATAK attack helicopters to complement the original 6 units being acquired under an earlier project.

It remains to be seen if this would be classified as part of the 2nd List of Horizon 2, or will be pushed back to Horizon 3 phase of the Revised AFP Modernization Program.

All photos credited to DND.

Project Summary:

Additional Attack Helicopter (Attack Helicopter Phase 3) Acquisition Project:

Note: Edited as of 15 December 2023.

* End User: Philippine Air Force (15th Strike Wing)

Quantity: at least 6 units, could be up to 18 helicopters depending on government's capability to provide funding.

* Modernization Phase:
 2nd List of Horizon 2 Phase of RAFPMP, to be moved to Re-Horizon 3 Phase.

* Project ABC:
 at least approx. US$274,560,000.00 (Php15,200,000,000.00), could be more depending on government's capability.

Acquisition Mode: Government-to-Government deal with Turkish Ministry of Defense.

* Source of Funding: GAA Funds through AFP Modernization Program Trust Fund, to be paid via Multi-Year Obligation Authority (MYOA) process.

* SARO Release/s: 
None yet, TBC

* Winning Proponent: Expected to be follow-on with Turkish Aerospace Industries

Product for Delivery: at least 6 units T129B ATAK attack helicopters, plus ILS and technical support and training.

* Contract Price: None yet, TBC

* Residual Amount: None yet, TBC

* MaxDefense Searching Hashtag: #PAFAdditionalAHAcquisition #PAFAHPhase3Acquisition

* Status: This project is a follow-on to earlier Attack Helicopter (Phase 2) Acquisition Project, with negotiations with Turkey and TAI already happening as part of the Phase 2 project. Funding is being secured as of August 2022, but none released as of December 2022. Project is being planned to be moved to Re-Horizon 3 phase after procurement process did not reach contracting stage by the end of Horizon 2 phase on December 2022.


The Department of National Defense (DND) successfully concluded a contract with Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) with assistance from the Turkish Ministry of Defense (MOD) for the sale of 6 T129B ATAK attack helicopters under the Attack Helicopter (Phase 2) Acquisition Project of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Due to the limited budget, only 6 helicopters were acquired, considering that the budget was actually enough for the acquisition of up to 24 light armed helicopters as originally envisioned.

One of the T129B ATAK attack helicopters during tests in Turkey, part of the first 6 units acquired under the Attack Helicopter (Phase 2) Acquisition Project. Photo credits to former CGPAF Lt.Gen. Allen Paredes' FB page.

It would be remembered that the Attack Helicopter (Phase 1) Acquisition Project involved the acquisition of 8 AgustaWestland AW109E Power light armed helicopters, and the original plan was to acquire another 24 units to completely replace the ageing McDonnell Douglas MD520MG Defender light armed helicopters of the PAF's 15th Strike Wing.

But 6 attack helicopters, regardless if they are more capable than the AW109E Power light armed helicopters, are still not enough both in terms of quantity and firepower delivery. It is also quantitatively not enough for form a complete squadron.

With this, a separate project to acquire at least 6 more helicopters was formed, with funding being requested from the national government, while negotiations were made with Turkey to allow for the sale of additional T129B attack helicopters at a price not too far off from the original project.

It is logical to procure additional T129B ATAK attack helicopters rather than procuring another type of helicopter, and despite offers made by American and European companies, the DND and PAF are expected to stick with the T129B.

As of August 2022, our parent page MaxDefense Philippines confirmed that budget request has already been made by the DND as early as before the end of former President Rodrigo Duterte's term, although it remains to be seen if the government under new President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. would support the planned acquisition.

U P D A T E S:

15 December 2023:

No funding has been released as of 15 December 2023, with the project appearing to be moved to the Re-Horizon 3 Phase of the RAFPMP, subject to confirmation of the final approved shopping list sent this month to the Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.


01 January 2024:

The PAF's 15th Strike Wing has confirmed in a document shared to our parent page MaxDefense Philippines that the unit is proposing the acquisition of a new heavy attack helicopter with enhanced survivability in heavily contested airspace, as well as improved lethality and firepower delivery.

So far, it has identified the Boeing AH-64 Apache as a prospect platform, although no specific variant and quantity has been mentioned.

There were also no information provided as to how these would be procured, and to which country would they be sourced. MaxDefense Philippines believe that the aircraft eyed are second-hand units used by either the US Army, or 3rd parties like the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) which is scheduled to retire all their AH-64DJ Apache Longbow in a few years time.

An AH-64DJ Longbow Apache of the JGSDF. Photo credits to Aoki Toshi.



First edit and release: 15 August 2022
Copyright MaxDefense Philippines / Philippine Defense Resource

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