A Turkish Army T129 ATAK attack helicopter, participating in Operation Olive Branch, was shot down in Kırıkhan district in the southeastern province of Hatay, killing two soldiers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed the incident while speaking in Istanbul on Feb. 10.
He said that the perpetrators ‘will pay a heavy price’ for downing the Turkish helicopter, and losses such as the chopper incident were expected to happen in battletime.
“Yesterday, we destroyed quite a large amount of missile depots, which is of course driving them [the People’s Protection Units(YPG)] crazy. We might lose one helicopter, but they will pay a heavier price”, he said.
Operation Olive Branch was launched by Turkey on Jan. 20 to remove the PKK/PYD/YPG/KCK members and Daesh militants from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, at least 1,141 members of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been “neutralized” since the beginning of the operation in Afrin.
TAI/AgustaWestland T129 ATAK
TAI/AgustaWestland T129 ATAK is a twin-engine, tandem seat, multi-role, all-weather attack helicopter based on the Agusta A129 Mangusta platform.
The T129 was developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), with partner AgustaWestland. The ATAK programme was begun to meet the Turkish Armed Forces’ requirements for an attack and tactical reconnaissance helicopter.
The helicopter is designed for advanced attack and reconnaissance in hot and high environments and rough geography in both day and night conditions.
The T129 is the result of the integration of Turkish developed high-tech avionics, air-frame modifications, and weapon systems onto the combat proven AgustaWestland A129 airframe, with upgraded engines, transmission and rotor blades.
It is in use by the Turkish Army, and is also being offered to other services.