Abbasi becomes Pakistan’s first Prime Minister to fly military helicopter

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has become the first Pakistani premier to fly a military chopper as he piloted a Turkish T-129 attack helicopter on a test flight.

Abbasi, an aviation enthusiast, took the helicopter for a test flight on Sunday.

The Pakistani premier, 58, was in the Turkish capital Istanbul for the ninth summit of D-8 nations.

The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, also known as the Developing-8, is an eight-nation grouping of Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey.

The prime minister inspected the helicopter, and was briefed by Turkish aviation officials about the specifications and technical parameters of the combat chopper.

After talking to Pakistani and Turkish media following the test-flight of T-129 helicopter, Abbasi said Turkey’s defence production industry was one of the best in the world.

On Pakistan’s plan of purchasing Turkish T-129 attack helicopters, he said the Army is evaluating the helicopter and is negotiating the contract and terms.

He termed the Turkish chopper as an “impressive and good machine”.

The chief executive officer of Turkish Aerospace Industries, Temel Kotil, said that T-129 was a light-weight attack helicopter equipped with missiles and guns.

He said Pakistan and Turkey have strong defence ties and collaborating in the defence production area as well.

Earlier in September, the prime minister had participated in an exercise training mission aboard an F-16 aircraft as part of the elite No 9 multirole squadron.

It was during a visit to the newly established ‘Airpower Centre of Excellence’ at an operational airbase of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) in Sargodha when the prime minister took part in the mission.

Chief of the Air Staff Sohail Aman, sitting in another F-16 aircraft, had also participated in the training mission.