Turkey to sign gunship contract with AgustaWestland
Turkey and Italian-British helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland will sign a contract this week for the company's production of nine A129 attack helicopters for the Turkish Army, the company's CEO announced yesterday. "We expect to sign a contract for the nine attack helicopters soon," Guiseppe Orsi told reporters. He said the gunships would be delivered unarmed, and Turkish officials will decide what weapons they will eventually carry. "We will deliver basic helicopters," he said. "It will be up to the Defense Industry Undersecretariat (SSM) and the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) to decide on the other equipment." Orsi said the nine attack copters would be delivered in 2012, one year before AgustaWestland plans to begin delivery of the 51 T129s in the larger gunship program. He didn't put a price tag on the choppers, but defense analysts predict a possible price of less than $200 million. One defense official said AgustaWestland and TAI are expected to sign the contract for the choppers tomorrow.