Nigerian pilots posing in front of a T-129 ATAK at a public display in Turkey.

Nigeria shows interest in T-129 gunship

Nigerian pilots posing in front of a T-129 ATAK at a public display in Turkey.
Nigerian pilots posing in front of a T-129 ATAK at a public display in Turkey.

It couldn’t fare too well against US counterparts in South Korea and the bid in Poland remains iffy, but Turkey’s T-129 attack helicopter can soon find its first export customer in Africa, the old continent.

According to reports coming directly from Nigeria as well as leaks from the IDEF’15. a popular international defense industry fair, Nigeria has shown great interest in Turkey’s T-129 attack helicopters to help its forces fight the rising threat Boko Haram poses in the country’s north.

T-129 is generally considered to be a more “cost-effective” platform when compared to heavier choppers such as the AH-64 Apache as it provides comparable capabilities at a faction of the cost. T-129 can fire Hellfires or Turkey’s own MIZRAK-U antitank missiles, Cirit laser guided rockets and Stinger/Igla anti-aircraft missiles. It features a 20mm automatic three-barrel cannon and an helmet mounted cueing system that allows the pilot to guide the cannon where he’s looking and engage targets.

Nigeria is already a long time customer of Turkish weapon platforms, such as Otokar’s Cobra armored personnel carriers, and has a close political and economic relationship with Turkey.

Turkey was previously alleged by various sources to have shipped light weapons and firearms to Islamist militans in Nigeria, but the allegations were successfully discredited and proven to be untrue.

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