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 AVCI HMCS Programme Update: Project Value Increases and Schedule Slips

TD&A Update has heard that the cost of Aselsan’s ongoing Helmet Mounted Cueing System [AVCI] R&D programme has already increased to US$36 Million from the contracted US$29.9 Million, and that, contrary to the programme schedule, the company will only be able to deliver first AVCI systems starting from the last batch of TUC-2 T-129 helicopters.
Awarded to Aselsan by the SSM during the ‘o7 IDEF Exhibition, the AVCI programme targets the indigenous design of Helmet Mounted Cueing System [HMCS] components for integration onto helicopter avionics and weapon systems. A total of four engineering prototype sets of the AVCI system will be produced in order to be integrated onto the T-129 attack helicopters to be procured under ATAK II programme. Out of the four prototype sets, two will be installed at the System Integration Laboratory [SIL] and two onto the TUC-1 T-129 attack helicopters of the TLF.
Valued at US$2,956 Billion [from which TAI will receive US$556 Million, Aselsan will receive US$7oo Million and AgustaWestland will receive Euro1,234 Billion] the ATAK II programme of the Turkish Army covers the procurement of 51 [+41 optional] T-129 attack helicopters.
The prototype that will be developed is to be retained by the SSM for use as a test-bed for other helicopter programmes, and the remaining 5o T-129s will be delivered to the TLF in two configurations, namely Turkey Unique Configuration 1 [TUC-1] and Turkey Unique Configuration 2 [TUC-2]. Contract signed on September 7, ‘o7 has become effective on June 24, ‘o8. Production of the prototype helicopter is scheduled to be launched soon.
The first 3o platforms will be in the TUC-1 configuration, which are planned to be equipped with available avionics and weapon system in order to prevent any delay in the delivery schedule. For example, instead of the AVCI Helmet Mounted Cueing System being developed by Aselsan, the platforms will be equipped with Thales or Elbit built HMDS systems [Aselsan has opened a tender for the procurement of 6o systems]. The TUC-1 helicopters will also be equipped with MXF-484 U/VHF radio sets, Indigenous Mission Computers, CDU-900 FMSs, LN-100G INS/GPS, AelFLIR-300T, Indigenous EW Suits, Moving Map, HF-SSB radios, HellFire II or Spike-ER anti-tank missiles, Stinger-ATAL, CİRİT 2.75” air-to-ground semi-active laser guided rockets and IFF systems. Aselsan will perform the integration of 12o ATAL launchers [four onto T-129s, for which the company has requested a procurement proposal from Raytheon]. For the selection of the anti-tank guided missile system to be used on the TUC-1 helicopters, Aselsan has issued a Request for Quotation [RfQ] to Rafael [Spike-ER] and Lockheed Martin [HellFire II].
The remaining 2o helicopters, to be supplied in the TUC-2 configuration, will be equipped with new indigenous avionics and weapon systems, such as UMTAS anti-tank missiles currently being developed under Roketsan Prime Contractorship, software-based radio sets and the AVCI Helmet Mounted Cueing System. However, since Aselsan has already informed the SSM that the AVCI deliveries will, for undisclosed reasons, be delayed, the number of HMDS systems to be procured from either Thales or Elbit is expected to be increased in the coming days.
The T-129 will be based on the A-129CBT attack helicopter of AgustaWestland, but in order to meet the TLF’s high altitude/heat performance requirement the platforms will be equipped with more powerful T-800-5 turboshaft engines, each generating 1,681shp at take-off and indigenous avionics. The T-129 will be armed with eight anti-tank missiles, four air-to-air Stinger missiles or two 2.75” rocket launchers and a 2omm gun.