US to sell Cobra helicopters to Turkey

October 25, 2009, Sunday/ 11:11:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
US Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey said on Friday that the US has agreed to sell Turkey AH-1W Super Cobra (“Whiskey Cobra”) attack helicopters, currently in the inventory of the US Marines.Jeffrey confirmed the sale during a press conference held with a group of Turkish journalists in Ankara.

However, Jeffrey declined to elaborate on the number, price and delivery dates of the attack helicopters. In response to a question Jeffrey said the US has not yet decided on the sale of two Predator unmanned aerial vehicles to Turkey.

Early this year Turkey sought the purchase of about 10 Cobra helicopters estimated to cost about $1.5 billion from the US to meet its stop-gap measures in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Upon the US decision to sell an unidentified number of Cobras to Turkey, Sunday's Zaman learned that Turkey has abandoned talks with Russia on the purchase of several Mi-28 helicopters.

Turkey has six AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters ready for combat from its original 12, while the remaining six either crashed or are no longer in service.

Until the attack helicopters that Turkey will produce in cooperation with Italian Agusta Westland over the next five years begin to enter service, the Cobras are planned to be used as an interim measure.

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