Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) is to display its T129 ATAK combat helicopter at the upcoming Bahrain International Air Show in what could be a precursor to a Bell AH-1 Cobra replacement programme for the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta-based T129 will feature in both the static and flying displays at the event, which will take place on 16-18 January.

The Royal Bahraini Air Force received 14 AH-1E and six TAH-1P (training) Cobra helicopters from the US Army in 1994 (the kingdom’s army does not operate aviation assets), and a further 12 AH-1F helicopters in 2005. Although these BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missile-armed helicopters have greatly enhanced the country’s rotary-wing attack capability, many AH-1Es in particular have had to be cannibalised for spare parts.