Sunday, July 8, 2012

Defense exports: a new dawn or the sunset

July 08, 2012 (UNIAN) Chef of UkrSpetsExport* Yevhen Perehudov announced mid-June the start of negotiations about the joint assembly of Ukrainian armored personnel carrier BTR ZE on the territory of Thailand. UkrSpetsExport specializes in the export and import of military and special products and services. The total cost of supply of APCs of this class to Thailand is more than US $110 mn, although the number of APCs that will be jointly assembled in Thailand has not been disclosed. In early May, Ukraine unveiled another joint project on the supply of BTR 4 to Kazakhstan to the tune of approximately US $150 mn. The news was announced by Minister of Defense Dmytro Salamatyn, who is a native of Kazakhstan. Just as in the case with Thailand, the media did not get information about the share of the vehicles that will be assembled in Kazakhstan. If these deals come out, export of licenses and production technologies shall substantially exceed finished products in the overall export of weapons and special hardware, that now bring Ukraine more than US $1 bn annually.  What this new trend mean for the nation’s defense exports? Pessimists say somebody wants to sell out Ukraine’s top defense technologies abroad. Optimists argue that the Ukrainian defense industry is learning to keep up with the times.

* UkrSpetsExport - a Ukrainian state-owned arms trading company, formed in November 1996 for export and import  of military and special products and services. UkrSpetsExport not only sells the products of the Ukrainian arms industry, but also the excess weapons of the Armed Forces of Ukraine inherited from the Soviet Army. Since February 2011 the company also produces non-military firearms and ammunition for them. In documents uncovered during the United States diplomatic cables leak U.S.-diplomats complained the U.S. is fighting a constant battle to stop the flow of arms from Ukraine and UkrSpetsExport to terrorist in the Middle East and South Sudan.