Ukraine intends to create its own multirole fighter, which should reduce the dependence of the domestic Air forces from the Russian aviation industry. Light combat aircraft (lbs) will be equipped with turbojet engines, which are produced in Zaporozhye. However, experts warn against euphoria: in Ukraine the design of the school required to create a combat aircraft. In addition, the process of developing their own fighter was too expensive. Even the richest countries in such cases can not do without foreign investment.
PLANS. That Ukraine will create their own multi-role fighter, said information group Jane’s (IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly), specializing in defense topics. According to analysts, there are already sketches of the preliminary draft of the aircraft. It will remind the Soviet MiG-29, which is actively exploited not only APU but also the armies of more than 20 States, including, of course, Russia. Lbs will be equipped with turbojet engines AI-322Ф developed at the Zaporozhye enterprise “Ivchenko-Progress”. The characteristics of these engines, according to Jane’s, will make Ukrainian aircraft roughly comparable to the Taiwanese fighter AIDC F-CK-1 that has a range of up to 1.1 thousand km and able to reach a maximum speed of 2.2 thousand km/h If so, then the lbs will give the MiG-29, which has a top speed of 2450 km/h and has a practical range of up to 1430 km.
It is assumed that the lbs needs to reduce critical dependence of the Ukrainian Air forces from the Russian aviation industry. As reported by “Today,” the expert on the defense industry, former Deputy Director General of “Ukroboronprom” Maxim Glushchenko, after the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine inherited 1,100 combat aircraft of all kinds. And as of the end of 2015 as part of the Air forces of Ukraine, there were only 207 combat and combat training, as well as 45 transport and special aircraft. All major manufacturers of combat aircraft operated by the APU, remained in the territory of the Russian Federation. Our country has inherited a aircraft company, and the concern “Antonov” specializiruetsya on the creation of passenger and military transport aircraft.
The issue of creating a Ukrainian fighter rises not for the first time. According to Maxim Glushchenko, in April last year at the state enterprise “Ivchenko-Progress” to the President Petro Poroshenko showed the project of Ukrainian multi-role fighter with two engines. “It was noted that “the development of the new fighter is at the stage of conceptual design”, and the characteristics and purpose of the aircraft will be close to the Russian MiG-35, the Chinese FC-1 Xiaolong and the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen. Once again — at the stage of preliminary design. That is not even the beginning of the path, and a pre-project. Now there is a new sketch either fighter, or light combat aircraft with a strange stated characteristics do not reach those machines that supposedly equals”, — said Maxim Glushchenko.
According to him, apart from the designs and sketches, was an attempt to move and practical things. For example, in 2012, it was about the development in Ukraine of the machine on the basis of a Chinese supersonic training aircraft L-15 engine with Ukrainian and weapons. “But this work is also stalled, and China now independently implementing such a project”, concluded Maxim Glushchenko.
And finally, at the end of may 2016 Deputy chief of armaments of VSU Vladislav Shostak reported the existence of the order for the production of combat aircraft. Contractor of the project should be ASTC “Antonov”, and the engine will produce the Zaporozhye plant “Motor Sich”.
REALITY. Despite all sorts of projects, according to the Director of information and consulting company defense Express Serhiy Zgurets, now there is no evidence that Ukraine is developing its own fighter. “No formulated technical task and understanding what kind of plane we need to build,” said Zgurets. According to him, now comes the question of the modernization of existing aircraft to ensure that they could effectively hit ground targets: “the challenge of creation of new samples aviation weapons and extending the life of old”.
These problems are gradually being solved. For example, in February President Petro Poroshenko announced the successful testing of the new Ukrainian aviation 57-mm rockets. They are designed for attack helicopters and aircraft and is designed to destroy ground targets. “Only half a second necessary to produce a full block of 20 missiles,” — said the head of state.
In addition, the army already has the aircraft, modernized at the Ukrainian enterprises. So the MiG-29МУ1 increased by 20% the detection range of air targets up to 100 km in the forward hemisphere and up to 45 km in the rear. Improved aircraft missiles production of the state company “Artem”, mounted on this fighter, have a launch range up to 95 km. Upgraded su-25M1 is now able to hit ground targets, even if the pilot does not see them capable of operating day and night, in conditions of poor visibility and even in the comfort of clouds. Three times increased altitude the use of weapons su-25M1, which reduces the probability of attack anti-aircraft weapons. A partial modernization of heavy fighters su-27 have increased the precision destruction of ground targets and the detection range of aerial targets. “According to the defence Ministry, this year it is planned to upgrade and renovate about 60 aircraft and helicopters of the Air forces”, — said Maxim Glushchenko.
But to create from scratch your own fighter Ukraine is hindered by the lack of design school and experience of similar works, according to a member of the parliamentary Committee on national security and defence Dmitry Tymchuk. “There is no doubt that we will be able to produce such an aircraft. The engines we do, housings, too, but with electronic equipment there will be problems. Our technical capabilities is absolutely not enough in order to make the entire avionics on a modern level,” says Dmitry Tymchuk. In his opinion, in such a case it is impossible to do without foreign participation, especially in the world there are quite a lot of people willing to help us fill the plane with electronics.
This opinion is shared by Maxim Glushchenko. He recalled that the development of combat aircraft — it is long and expensive, and thus requires cooperation. According to him, financing of the project of creation of the Swedish multirole fighter JAS 39 Gripen began in 1980, but it took 17 years before the aircraft was entered service with the Swedish air force. “Of course, the time period can be significantly shorter, but at least it will be about 10 years”, — said Maxim Glushchenko.
The expert also gave an example associated with the American F-35 aircraft. This project has cost taxpayers more than $400 billion In 2016, Donald trump has criticized the program creating the F-35 because of its high price, then the company Lockheed Martin has agreed to reduce the cost of one fighter F-35 in 2019 to $85 million (the cost of some modifications of the F-35 had reached $161 million). Note that in Ukraine the modernization of the MiG-29 to the level МУ1 as of 2012 was worth $2 million
“With our relatively limited funding need to consider the options of finding investors. You can imagine what resources has China, but, for example, the FC-1 Xiaolong was created with the financial participation of Pakistan. And now the Pakistan air force is actively used by this fighter,” concluded Maxim Glushchenko.