Ukrainian “Oplot” in the Thai jungle

The export of weapons remains an important source of income for the Ukrainian defense industry. One of the main export contracts — the final delivery this year of tanks “Oplot” for Thailand. The price is a quarter of a billion dollars.

Ukraine continues to be in the top 10 world arms exporters. According to the state concern “Ukroboronprom”, in the last few years the volume of export contracts has grown substantially. Thus, only during 9 months of 2016, the amount supplied abroad military equipment increased by 20% and amounted to almost $ 600 million, and the total amount of export contracts signed in 2016, exceeded $ 1.5 billion. After the outbreak of hostilities in the Donbass, the implementation of international contracts for the sale of arms had departed for Ukraine on the second plan.

The main task for the authorities was to ensure the combat capability of the Ukrainian army, opposing the military machine of the Russian. However, weapons contracts are an important part of revenue for domestic defense industry and the state budget — the portfolio of international contracts provides the national economy billions of dollars in badly needed foreign exchange earnings.

One of the most important and discuss the package of contracts is the supply of fifty tanks BM “Oplot” in the Kingdom of Thailand. To perform its obligations Ukraine is trying for the seventh year.

Problematic contract

Tank BM “Oplot” — the latest development of the Ukrainian armored industry. The tank itself is a continuation of a series of deep modernization of the Soviet T-80 and developed on its basis of the T-84. On arms of the Ukrainian army tank was officially adopted in 2009, and a contract with the Thailand government signed two years later in 2011. The agreement involves the supply of 49 vehicles to the customer until the end of 2014, and the cost was about $ 250 million. But in the time the customer received only 5 cars and further performance of the contract was delayed for several years, with regular delays its completion.

After the outbreak of hostilities in the East of Ukraine in 2014, the execution of contracts for the sale of weapons was suspended, deadlines for their implementation were under review. I touched it and Thai agreements. After a long pause, the contract was renewed in the summer of 2015, when Thailand went for the second batch of 5 cars. But the rhythm of implementation of the commitments could put an end to the contract.

The leadership of Ukroboronprom has passed to active actions. For the failure of production plans was dismissed by the Director of the Plant. Malysheva, producer of “hold” and the group admitted the company has problems with the production of “Strongholds” and even asked for help to private companies. However, even these steps did not solve all supply problems. As of January, Thailand received only 20 cars out of the 49, although this year should be final for the contract.

Tanks beat information

Problems with the execution of the contract are actively used by competitors Ukroboronprom. So comment representatives of the group messages from time to time appeared in both domestic and foreign media that Thailand intends to terminate the contract with Ukraine. The last such report appeared in January of this year, just before delivery the fifth party tanks.

Thai newspaper the Bangkok Post reported about the decision of the military leadership of Thailand to prematurely terminate the contract to supply tanks “hold” due to the fact that at the moment the customer received only 20 of the 49 tanks, and the contract expires in October 2017. According to published information, instead of the Ukrainian “Strongholds” Thailand wants to buy 28 Chinese tanks VT-4.

In response to this message, the group said — all this is nothing more than the desire of competitors to win over a lucrative contract. According to the state enterprise “UkrSpetsExport”, which is Ukraine’s main exporter of all kinds of arms and military equipment, the Thai delegation on 16 January started the procedure of receiving the next batch of tanks.

“The procedure is standard. There is a receipt in the shop, bench tests, tests on the ground. Accordingly, when this is all over and passed inspection, the tanks will be transferred to the customer, explained the procedure of receiving tanks, representatives of the plant. Malysheva. — Usually a maximum of two weeks. A few months take delivery of machines to the customer.”

Director, information and consulting company Defense Express military expert Sergey Zgurets in the comments UNIAN said that the Ukrainian tank of competition on the world arms market, but the regular violation of the terms of the contract undermines the credibility of Ukraine as a reliable partner. “Tank “Oplot” competitive Chinese VT-4, especially in the parameters of the engine. Because the Chinese have no engine under their tanks. But export contracts to be performed in time. Otherwise, immediately begin to appear, or Chinese, or Russian competitors either in the format of publications, either in the format statements. We need to ensure reliable timing of contracts, but if we ignore these things, we will lose ground,” — said the expert.

Not for the domestic market

Another issue related to the sale of “Strongholds” abroad, is the regular lack of these machines in the state defense order. It looks like this — belligerent country sells its most modern weapons, and in a combat zone in the East using an outdated technique. Most experts agree that this situation has developed because of the financial part of this question. “Stronghold” is more profitable to sell than to allocate state funds for its purchase.

“Tank “Oplot” are required for export. You just need to make a decision that he is going to sell, and the money we decide what we will do with heavy armor in the future,” said Zgurets. In his opinion, in the near future Ukraine will be fighting using tanks T-64, having their deep modernization. By the way, in the warehouses of the Ministry of defense preserved the remains of several thousand of these tanks.

Similar situation, according to Zgurets, with the development of the armored industry in Russia. New tank “Armata”, fighting only in strongholds as a means of propaganda, go into a production stage only after ten years. “Armata” is an experimental model. They promised that this year will begin serial production. But until then. I am sure that the tank “Armata” will be brought to serial production at least 10 years. And we will fight on upgraded tanks T-64, and they on T-72,” said Zgurets.

By the way, in early January of this year in Ukraine have patented a new tank “t Rex”, which, according to developers, should be the main competitor of the Russian “Armata”. According to the concept, “tireks” must be resistant to the cumulative ammunition. By analogy with the “Armata”, it will be equipped with an armored capsule with Seating for three crew members, as well as unmanned tower.

“The ideology, which is embedded in the tank “tireks” on the effectiveness of comparable to the “Armata”, but only if all decisions still on paper, will be implemented. But this requires funding of the state,” said Zgurets.

And to obtain these necessary funds in the shortage of funding can be by increasing military exports. Received from the sale of tanks and other weapons, the money could go to the modernization of enterprises and development of new production. That’s just to compete and maintain its position on such important for the Ukrainian arms market without a clear and systematic state policy for a long time will not succeed.