Pakistan may procure Chinese helicopter if Turkish deal fails: report

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Turkey's home-made ATAK helicopter.

Pakistan will procure the Chinese-built Z-10 attack helicopter if Turkey and the United States fail to deliver on their orders of the T-129 and AH-1Z, respectively, a senior officer said on Wednesday, according to Jane’s Defence Weekly.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter conference in London, the commander of Pakistan’s Army Aviation, Maj. Gen. Syed Najeeb Ahmed, said the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation (CAIC) Z-10ME “remains an option” if the Turkish Aerospace T-129 and Bell AH-1Z Viper prove to be unobtainable for different reasons.

The Pakistani Army has a pressing need to replace its 32 ageing Bell AH-1 Cobra helicopters that have been in service for more than 30 years.

Pakistan has extended the deadline for Turkish Aerospace Industries to deliver 30 T129 helicopter gunships on order, amid US reluctance to grant Turkey technology export licenses, Defense News reported in January.

US diplomatic sources in Ankara said it’s unlikely Washington will issue the license given the cold nature of US-Turkish defense procurement ties. The US last year suspended Turkey’s membership in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter program in response to Turkey’s acquisition of the Russian-made S-400 air defense system.

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