over a decade of evaluating, negotiating, haggling and delays, Turkey has
decided to buy 50 A129 Mangusta (Mongoose) helicopter gunships, for about $32
million each, with an option to buy 40 more later. The latest version of the
Italian A129 is roughly comparable to the upgraded versions of the U.S. AH-1
(especially the AH-1 SuperCobra). The 4.6 ton A-129 was the first helicopter
gunship designed and built in Western Europe, and was introduced in the 1980s.
While it has been upgraded frequently, the only customer so far has been Italy,
which bought 60 of them. The manufacturer, Augusta/Westland, has been desperate
to get an export customer. Given the delays in selecting a supplier, who was
buying, and who was selected, there were probably some bribes involved.