|AEROSPACE AND DEFENSE INDUSTRY NEWS DIGEST – UKRAINE, 20 MARCH 2012|
NATIONAL SECURITY & DEFENSE POLICY
President Yanukovych has created a “Committee on Reform and Development of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and Defense Industry” within the framework of the National Security and Defense Council. The President will chair the Committee and newly-appointed Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Andriy Kliuyev will serve as Executive Secretary. The NSDC secretariat will be responsible for the organizational, technical, analytical and informational work of the Committee.
Ukraine’s new Defense Minister, Dmytro Salamatin, has begun a series of unit visits to emphasize his organizational oversight over the Armed Forces. The Minister visited Sevastopol where he inspected local military units, including the Ukrainian Navy Headquarters and the frigate Hetman Sahaydachny. In Sevastopol, Mr. Salamatin was briefed on the current status of the Zaporizhzhya submarine, after which he requested enhancing preparations for its upcoming military sea trials. The Minister also made an unannounced visit to check the readiness of alert air defense interceptors.
The new defense minister has also announced a defense reform program, which aims to increase efficiency and eliminate redundancy in the defense sector. Early steps will include a full stocktaking of military equipment and property currently in the possession of the Defense Ministry, along with measures to remove non-operational and obsolete items. Funds saved from the modernization program will be channeled into social support programs for service personnel. Equipment modernization will be done in conjunction with the state-owned defense industry conglomerate UkrOboronProm. The Ukrainian press reports that the minister’s program focuses on modernization and a substantial reduction in personnel – both military and civil personnel. Cuts in 2012 will reportedly be 24,000 and 31,000 in 2013.
Defense Minister Salamatin also held two recent meetings with his Russian counterpart, Anatoliy Serdyukov. On February 27th, the two met in Sevastopol, where they discussed bilateral cooperation, including issues related to granting Russia access to the NITKA carrier aviation training center. The two ministers also signed an agreement on the disposal of approximately $8 mln in surplus munitions from Russian Black Sea Fleet at Ukrainian industrial facilities. Salamatin also met Serdyukov during the Ukrainian minister’s official visit to Moscow on March 7th, when he reiterated Ukraine’s commitment to non-aligned status and its foreign policy objective of developing mutual and balanced relations with all partners.
In opening remarks during a NATO-Ukraine Inter-Parliamentary Council on February 15th, Volodymyr Lytvyn, the Chairman of Ukraine’s Parliament (Verkhovna Rada), called for the “de-politization of NATO-Ukraine relations” as the best way to facilitate the implementation of agreements reached between both sides. According to Mr. Lytvyn, Ukraine seeks specific interests and practical results in its cooperation with NATO.
INTERNATIONAL CONSULTATIONS AND AGREEMENTS
During an official trip to Algeria on March 13th, Ukraine’s First Defense Deputy Minister, Oleksandr Oliynyk, participated in an intergovernmental Ukrainian-Algerian committee on military and technical cooperation.
A former commander of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet (BSF), Admiral Igor Kasatonov, now advisor to the Chief of Russia’s Armed Forces’ General Staff, has accused Ukraine of trying to block the modernization of the BSF’s ships and military capabilities by dragging out the negotiation process until the fleet’s ships and equipment become outdated. These accusations take place against a background where Sevastopol city authorities have been aggressively seeking to reclaim land from the fleet and a recent opinion poll showing that 49% of Ukrainians oppose the extension of the lease on BSF bases to 2042, with 33% supporting and 18% undecided.
Russian Defense Minister Serdyukov has reportedly offered to give Sevastopol city 440 apartments that are currently under BSF control. The mayor of Sevastopol, Volodymyr Yatsuba, has stated that transfer is due to the BSF’s inability to continue paying for the maintenance of these apartments, and that the city has an interest in acquiring them as most were relatively new, having been built in the past decade.
OPERATIONS, EXERCISES, TRAINING, FORCE DEVELOPMENT
Denmark’s Armed Forces will assist in developing a transport aviation operational command and control center for Ukraine’s Air Forces. An official Danish delegation visited Ukraine’s 25th Transport Aviation Brigade, based near the city of Melitopol, on March 13th-15th. The center will provide command and control for preparing forces and participation in military air transport activities with NATO member countries.
Ukraine and NATO plan to conduct a series of exercises aimed to improve readiness for responding to potential crisis situations that could arise during the Euro-2012 European Football Championship. A group of NATO security experts will reportedly participate in a 3-day exercise at Kyiv’s Olympic stadium in early April together with representatives from the Ministries of Emergencies, Internal Affairs, and Health.
Ukraine’s Antonov Airlines and Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group are negotiating joint proposals for their participation in a NATO tender for the SALIS (Strategic Airlift Interim Solution) program. The tender is tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.
Russia’s Defense Minister stated at the conclusion of talks with his Ukrainian counterpart that the two countries plan to conduct joint tests of the An-70 medium transport aircraft this year. Oleksandr Kiva, Antonov’s vice-president, told a group of Russian and Ukrainian defense officials that the An-70 program has accelerated in recent months and will be ready to begin serial production when scheduled testing of the aircraft is complete.
Separately, Antonov has requested development of aircraft control systems from Russia’s JSC Moscow Institute of Electromechanics and Automation in sum of $1.7 mln as part of An-70 aircraft modernization program.
Ukraine’s UkrOboronProm has delivered a third shipment of five upgraded An-32 military transport aircraft to India, and had declared its ability to meet further deliveries as scheduled. According to the contract, UkrOboronProm will support modernization of 105 An-32 military transport aircraft for the Indian Air Forces. Of those, 40 aircraft will be upgraded in Ukraine and 65 in India. The first lot of 5 modernized aircraft departed to India in May 2011; a second delivery took place in September 2011.
Ukraine’s government is reportedly preparing to deliver a first batch of AI-222-25F engines for the L-15 LIFT supersonic trainer/attack aircraft to the People’s Republic of China. As reported, Chinese specialists are scheduled to arrive Ukraine in late March or early April 2012 to receive the first batch of the Ukrainian-made engines.
The state-owned enterprise “Plant 410 CA” has announced a tender for a revolving line of credit worth up to 200 mln UAH ($25 mln) for a one-year term.
Ukraine’s Antonov signed an agreement at the beginning of 2012 with Russia’s JSC VASO, JSC Ilyushin Finance Co. and JSC Rossiya Airlines to upgrade six An-148 regional jet aircraft that are currently operated by ‘Rossiya’. Reprogramming aircraft systems will be the focus of the upgrade.
Ukraine’s state-owned “Scientific Research Institute of Aero Resilient Systems” (Feodosiya) won several contracts totaling over 20 mln UAH ($2.5 mln), including a 4.3 mln UAH ($540 thousand) order from the Ukrainian Airmobile Forces and a proposal from the Defense Ministry for supplying 500 parachute system sets worth 16 mln UAH ($2 mln). [The Feodosiya ‘Scientific Research Institute of Aero Resilient Systems’ is the only enterprise in Ukraine that develops and produces paratrooper equipment for military and civilian use. In April 2011 the enterprise became a part of State Concern UkrOboronProm. The recent orders are likely linked to the introduction of a new ‘Bars-S’ parachute system in the Armed Forces on March 15th .- Ed.]
The 114th Ivano-Frankivsk Tactical Aviation Brigade has received two MiG-29 jet fighter aircraft after renovation by the Lviv State Aircraft Repair Plant. In the near future, 5 more renovated MiG-29s will be delivered to the brigade. The cost of renovating each aircraft is approximately 6 mln UAH ($750 thousand).
SATELLITES & LAUNCH VEHICLES
Ukraine’s National Space Agency celebrated its twentieth anniversary on 1 March. At a ceremony marking the occasion, the head of the Agengy, Yuri Alekseev, highlighted that in the past 20 years there have been 125 launches of the Ukrainian rockets, lifting 238 satellites from 19 countries into space – putting Ukraine into the top five countries in the world in terms of the number of space launches.
A Ukrainian Navy delegation took part in the 23rd Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) meeting held in Bahrain on March 13th. The meeting brought together over 145 representatives from European, Asian, and Middle Eastern navies, law enforcement, governments, and maritime industry, including participants from the EU’s Atalanta anti-piracy operation headquarter, NATO’s Ocean Shield anti-piracy operation and the headquarters of the United States’ Navy’s 5th Fleet. The next meeting is scheduled for this coming June.
On February 29th, 2012, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a decision to dispose of 366,000 small arms/light weapons in the framework of Implementation Agreement between the Cabinet of Ministers and the NATO Maintenance and Supply Organization (NAMSO) on the disposal of firearms and light weapons, conventional ammunition and PFM-1 land mines. Weapons to be destroyed include grenade launchers, machine guns, automatic rifles, rifles, carbines, pistols and revolvers of various makes and modifications.
On March 5th-8th, 2012, UkrOboronProm represented Ukraine’s defense industry at the International Defense & Security 2012 Expo held in Bangkok, Thailand. At the Expo Ukraine displayed products such as the BTR-3E1 and BTR-4 armored personnel carriers, the MT-LB armored truck, the Skif anti-tank guided missile complex, the Adros optical-electronic suppression system, the Kolchuga passive radar system, the Zubr air-cushioned landing craft, and the Gyurza armored boat. The Ukrainian stand was visited by Thailand’s senior military leaders and several representatives from foreign delegations. The Chief of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, Prayut Chan-O-Cha stated his plans to visit Ukraine in March in order to hold further negotiations on military-technical cooperation between Thailand and Ukraine.
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