15:45 Mar. 31, 2016
Ukraine presents over 40 full-scale samples and models of military equipment at International Defence Exhibition DefExpo 2016 in New Delhi
Ukraine has launched an aggressive effort to manage multiple overloaded armaments and weaponry that New Delhi acquired during the Soviet era and which have become a liability for the Indian defense forces.
Armed with the salutations of a government-level delegation (to negate the strains in the relationship between the two countries since Ukraine sold T-80 U tanks to Pakistan in the early 1990s) and with over a dozen defense companies showcasing new programs at Defexpo, Ukraine is attempting to embrace India and break the Russian monopoly on the Soviet-era platforms.
Perto Fedoruk, chief adviser to Ukraine's largest defense industry consortium, Ukroboronprom, said: "We are here now [in India] for the long term to manage Soviet-era headaches, which India cannot manage alone."
"For nearly a decade Russia has forcefully blocked our entry," Fedoruk said. "We have offered multiple solutions to give new life to Soviet-era weaponry [with Indian defense forces], as we are the original equipment manufacturer."
The Indian Navy is evaluating a proposal by Ukraine for overhaul and maintenance of gas turbines used in Delhi-class warships and the carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
The Ukroboronprom deputy director general of strategy, Artur Kheruvymov, said India plans to organize a "joint military technical commission for providing service support for Soviet-era weaponry."
"In addition, the two countries are also planning to form joint ventures in India for upgradation and overhaul and manufacture of spares for Soviet-built air defense systems, including the Kvadrat, OSA-AKM Strela-1, Tunguska, Shilka, portable IGLA and Strela-2 systems," Kheruvymov said.
Ukraine is doing more than USD 100 million in annual defense business with India, and aims to increase it to USD 500 million in the next three years, he said.
Over 700 defense contracts related to the delivery of spares, repair and upgrade valued at over USD 2 billion were signed and completed in the last 10 years.
"We have now managed to make a breakthrough," according to the Ukrainian diplomat, who added: "India has now decided not to buy [the] electronic support measure system used to detect and track stealth aircraft and Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles from us instead of from Russia."
Ukroboronprom is also sealing a partnership with state-owned Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to indigenize Russian T-90 main battle tanks and set up a facility to manufacture spares in India.
Ukraine has also entered into a partnership with state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics for supply of crucial spares for Russian Sukhoi aircraft.