180919 amuniciya kamuflyazh snaryazhenie2013-17 international cooperation in defense technology.


Ukraine’s international defense technology cooperation (DTC) in 2013-2017 had been impacted by several factors that seriously affected the country’s defense exports and imports over the period reviewed. Following the beginning of military hostilities in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the Ukrainian government terminated sales of defense articles and dual-use items and technology to Russia, excluding aerospace platforms used in international peaceful space exploration activities. This has greatly affected the level of and changed the geographic destinations for Ukraine’s defense exports.


Beyond that, Ukraine’s defense industry had to shift its focus towards the manufacturing, rebuilding and upgrading of armored fighting vehicles, aircraft, air defense systems and communications equipment to meet the operating needs of the Ukrainian forces.


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On a parallel track, the domestic defense industry had expanded its product portfolio by adding products that had never been produced in Ukraine previously, including particularly, but not limited to, unmanned aerial vehicles and systems, robotic vehicles and devices, fire control systems, and thermobaric weapons.    


That being said, arms export remained an important factor for production growth and economic development in Ukraine, despite the fact that total Ukraine’s defense exports reduced from $ 1 billion in 2013 to $ 500 million in 2014. In the following years, however, the level of Ukraine’s international defense sales returned to an upward trend. In January 2017, deputy CEO of the State-owned Ukroboronprom defense industries group, Denis Hurak announced that his company had exported $ 769.5 million worth of defense-related equipment in 2016, representing a 25%, or about $ 567 million increase over the previous year.


In 2013-2017, Ukraine placed 11th in SIPRI’s ranking of global weapons exports. On a geographic basis, according to SIPRI, the largest destinations for Ukraine’s defense exports in the said period were Russia (23%), China (20%) and Thailand (12%), but these calculations are doubtful, especially with respect to Russia.


Other destinations for Ukraine’s defense exports were Vietnam, India, Myanmar, Nigeria, Niger, UAE, Pakistan, and several more countries. Sales of parts and components, and MRO services accounted for about 83 percent of total exports.


As seen from data on Ukraine’s international arms transfers in 2017 published by the State Service for Export Control in July 2018, Ukraine had exported 18 units of BM Oplot MBTs to Thailand, over 17.000 units of small arms, as well as more than 800 units of light weapons to the USA, Uzbekistan, Jordan, Mongolia, and Turkey. The data, however, does not include sales of components and defense MRO services, which were substantial.


Private-sector defense industries were playing an ever increasing role in sales to both export and domestic markets over the period under review. Thus, in 2016, the share of private-sector businesses had grown to about a third of total Ukroboronprom’s export sales, and this trend for growth continued into 2017.


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Special mention should be made of the fact that Ukraine was acquiring military weapons and equipment under lend-lease type international military assistance programs in 2014-2017, which was not the case in previous years. With this assistance, the Ukrainian military and other public safety forces are then in a better position to enhance their capabilities and increase their capacity to respond to challenges.


Over that period, international partners from 20 countries provided Ukraine with over $ 0.5 billion worth of military aid supplies that consisted of night vision devices, communications equipment, mine countermeasure equipment, motor vehicles, counter battery radars, and anti-tank weapons systems just to name a few.


In particular, U.S. foreign military aid programs provided Ukraine with military clothing, medical supplies, and equipment supplies that included HMMWV vehicles with related replacement parts, multi-band Harris radios, night vision devices, a rapid chemical analysis laboratory, mine countermeasure equipment, AN/TPQ-36 counter-battery radars, RQ-11B Raven mini UAV systems, soldier equipment, summer and winter camouflage clothing sets, bulletproof vests, Kevlar helmets, sleeping pads, scarves and hats. Beyond that, the U.S., under its humanitarian aid programs, provided Ukrainian armed services with a mobile field hospital, tactical food ration kits, electric generators, space heaters, diving equipment, and equipment for Air Force operations. Some supplies, including particularly RQ-11B Raven UASes had been paid for by Ukraine.


Apart from the USA, foreign military aid deliveries were coming to Ukraine from Canada (night vision devices, body armors, Kevlar helmets, sleeping bags, and lots of winter service uniforms), the Republic of Poland (bedding sets, ‘long life’ rye bread, dry food ration kits, and clothing), Australia (winter clothing), Great Britain (clothing, medical items, soldier equipment, winter diesel fuel, night vision devices, and GPS navigation devices), China (clinical ophthalmic equipment), the Slovak Republic (electric generators, lighting kits, plastic dishware, sleeping bags, clothing and a wide range of medical equipment and devices), Turkey (clothing sets), the French Republic (bulletproof vests and medical items), the Kingdom of the Netherlands (electric generators and winter clothing sets), Spain (bulletproof vests and Kevlar helmets), the Czech Republic and Albania (soldier equipment and uniforms), Lithuania (equipment and uniforms; in November 2017, it was announced about the transfer of € 2 million worth of weapons and munitions that became surplus following Lithuania’s transition to NATO standard weapons and munitions), as well as Norway, Latvia, Denmark, and Japan (equipment for various purposes).


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Further to this, Ukrainian armed services have received military weapons and equipment systems procured under Ukrainian government funded contracts, especially with Belarus, Great Britain, Poland, France, Turkey and the United States. To meet the requirements of its military and National Guard forces Ukraine, in 2016-17, had bought a quantity of 12.17 mm Barrett М82 and М107 sniper rifles, and a small batch of PSRL-1 handheld grenade launchers from the USA, BMP-1 and 2S1 Gvozdika self-propelled howitzers from Poland and the Czech Republic, and Aselsan tactical radios from Turkey.


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Overall, Russian aggression in Ukraine had had a serious impact on the results of the country’s international defense technology cooperation in 2013-17. The Ukrainian defense-industrial sector, which had long been tailored to cooperation with the Russian Federation previously, has now been progressively shifting on to other partners and other markets. And what is especially encouraging is that the domestic defense market too has been expanding and growing after years of stagnation.


Read more in Ukrainian Defense Review by Defense Express Media & Consulting Company

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