Ukrainian tank crews fighting against the Russians in the Donbas blind

After the official demonstration of the new weapons do not often get into the APU, and if they pass, then in very small amounts. About why so occurs, and also about prospects of development of the Ukrainian Navy and air force in the second part of an interview for “Apostrophe” says the Director of the information and consulting company Defense Express, a military expert Sergey Zgurets.

“Apostrophe”: You said that you can rocket complexes “the Beech” substitute “Point”. What are their characteristics? Are they able to break through the Russian air defense system in the Crimea? What is the potential for the creation of such missiles in Ukraine?

Sergey Zgurets: When we talk about any new samples in the defense industry, which are created in Ukraine, I wish you said goodbye to certain illusions. Any new weapon makes sense only when: 1) it is commercially available in sufficient quantity; 2) the armed forces or units able to effectively apply new weapon. If neither the first nor the second, new models of weapons can not speak.

The period of 2017 is the most complex from the point of view of the rearmament of the Ukrainian army: on the one hand, the inventory that we used to fill losses and pick new teams, in fact, limited and exhausted repair facility to restore the Soviet technology was also exhausted, and the mass production of new weapons only getting better. Virtually all models of equipment are still at the stage of preparation or completion of the tests. Only after passing the test is the beginning of mass production. The number of samples which is produced in large quantities and commercially, yet small. Complex “Alder” on the documents is a deep modernization of the MLRS “Smerch”, and in fact this new complex is capable of hitting a target at a distance of 120 km and beyond. Must pass a test cycle which will end the state test. Mass production will begin only after the successful completion of the state tests. Mass production, I think will take at least a year and a half. We are talking about the first production of number of products that will match a certain regular unit, which will effectively learn this complex to apply.

— First one unit?

— It could be division or other division staff to conduct testing of the use of this complex in normal units in parallel must be serial production. The Achilles heel of the Ukrainian defense industry — we focus on individual limited to only a few models that are created through our defense. If produced 3, 5, 10 or even 20 samples, in comparison to, for example, one brigade in which about 6 thousand personnel and 3 thousand samples of different iron, these 10 or 15 new models of the efficiency of the brigade will not raise. Only a massive re-samples will allow us to speak about qualitative rearmament. I would now emphasized that created the first preconditions for the transfer of samples, created as experienced in the format of the serial production. On this track must pass the complex “Alder” and a number of other samples of national defense.

— As things stand now with the controversial vehicles “Dozor-B”?

— Our magazine Defense Express that year we very carefully analyzed the situation with the “Watch”. Later representatives “Ukroboronprom” at the press conference said that “Dozor-B” passed all the tests. In 2016, was made 10 cars, despite the fact that, everyone expected much more. Now 10 cars after manufacturing them at the Lviv plant have completed the phase of testing in the army. The result is this: in principle, the machine satisfies the basic requirements of the military, she confirmed the basic specifications, however, there are a number of observations that need to be eliminated. Such observations include: high temperature, open circuit steering columns on some cars, the noise of the machine from the point of view of the chassis, the inability to provide rotation of the gunner who is firing from a machine gun, because the gunner is sitting in the chair and can not 360 degree turn. There are only about seven comments that should be addressed in the context of bringing this machine to the optimum. As this trial operation ended at the end of last month, now the main customer in the face of the Ministry of defense needs to decide what this machine can do. I think that is likely a political decision that helps this car move quickly to finalize, but I am afraid that production will start or the second half of this year if there will be changes in the state defense order, because I don’t remember if this machine is in the state defense order, and whether it will be ordered by the Ministry of defence, because I objectively understand that the military wanted the car to break in, to really see what this product is.

— What will happen next with this machine?

— We are now at the stage when the Marines train, the comments stated that the manufacturer represented Lviv armored plant, in Alliance with the KMDB these comments should take into account and again put the car at the next stage. But the next step from a legal point of view can be framed in different ways, so I think “Watch B” in General, military suit, but given the changes that are stated. But the nature of these changes can be global. If, for example, Balk at the fact that there is the noise of the chassis, as it is caused by the fact that the chassis is based on the Soviet BTR-80, modification of the suspension can cause the creation of a virtually new machine. Requirements for the overheating of the cabin and all the rest also may require new cooling systems, reviewing design solutions that are inherent now in the version of the machine is “Watch”. In fact, you may need to create a car almost in the second round, and against the background of, for example, the appearance of such cars as “Kozak-2M” private enterprise “Practice”, is interesting from the point of view of what “Kozak-2M” is no longer just an armored car and wheeled fighting machine and de-facto can claim the niche now is “Watch”. I think that might be an interesting precedent, on the one hand, we have “Watch” which is designed by the government, and on the other hand, a private company offered a car in this segment, which is ready to pass the real state tests according to the requirements of military, airborne and MTR.

— With respect to the tank Park APU — evaluate the prospects of creating a tank with a remote weapons based on the T-64 or even the same “Hold” as they can compete with the Russian T-72B3 or those that have already been spotted in the Donbas?

— Russian tanks T-72B3 can compete with any T-64 tank, which will be equipped with night vision. For this you need to provide them with the imager, which will see the enemy tank at the same distance, as you can see now, for example, the Russian T-72B3. The main problem of our tank units is that in two years we have not solved the main task: to provide adequate opportunities for the tankers to conduct operations in the night period. Our tanks are night blind. Based on this, of course, decreases the efficiency of the use of any units that rely on the tank as the main defending unit.

— How to rectify this situation?

We should buy cameras abroad because of certain problems, or to create your own solution that will allow the use of thermal imaging equipment to ensure that tank units. This is the main task of this year. If this problem will not be solved until the end of the year, I’ll be very strongly configured to the policy leadership of the country — whether it is busy improving the combat capability of the Ukrainian army. You can show a bunch of new samples that exist in one instance, it is understood that the tank units are just blind on the battlefield. This applies to IFVs and APCS including.

The task of tank forces is to provide them with night vision, and the second is to raise the level of protection of tanks. The protection level of the tank rests on the fact that the tanks “Bulat”, which is used in the combat zone and which are presented as a modernization of the T-64, showed a certain negative things. It was about the congestion of the tank protection, which on it hung. With all the power the engine it is not possible to provide efficiency and maneuverability. On the other hand, the lack of night vision also really is a clear disadvantage for the modernization of tanks T-64 to version “Bulat”. All these details taken into account, and is now developing other rational version of modernization of T-64, which will form the basis of tank units in the near future.

— If to speak about the tanks of the enemy, how can we compete with the Russian “Armata”?

— We have more interesting decisions that relate to, for example, a tank with a remote service. This project was developed by the engineering group of “Ares”, for example, tank “tireks” on the basis of the T-64. Now HCB should be sufficiently aggressive policy, showing that the Bureau is able to produce new ideas that did not work so that is a sign HCB, and the creation of the brightest examples is very limited. Note that creating new samples is constrained by financial capacity, lack of modern element base, which does not allow to comply with the new requirements and the possibility of systematic work, engineering and design. The absence of thought makes it very unlikely that we will have in the future new samples.

— In this situation, what do Ukrainian developers?

— There are suggestions and ideas to skip a generation and do tank “Oplot”, because, according to my estimates, it will, in principle, the last Mohican, which will be delivered to Thailand. I’m not sure that the APU will be able to purchase “Hold” in the near future, because the army relies on the modernization of tanks T-64. This is the period of time 5-7 years, I have to go tank, which is able to compete with the enemy.

As for the Russian “Armata”, its production is associated with enormous problems, even there is doubt that in 10 years we will see on the field of battle tank “Armata”, given the number of technical, organizational and financial problems that have become visible in Russia in recent years. By this time we should make a decision or to have their own tank, if you go the linear way of opposition, or to create effective patterns of anti-tank weapons, which are able to minimize the advantage of any tank on the battlefield. So maybe no need now to solve the problem head-on: they have “Armata” — and we have something should be. Maybe you should go for asymmetrical ways to create an effective means of combating tanks and spend less money on the option line of resistance.

— What is the situation with military aircraft?

— The number of aircraft, able to perform combat tasks (these include the su-27, MiG-29, su-24, su-25), the number of techniques that you can send into battle, in comparison with the period of the outbreak of war has increased significantly. This is due to two factors. On the one hand, funds were allocated for the repair of equipment, which led to an increase in operational equipment. On the other hand, given the demands of the war, was lowered from the threshold requirements to the technique, which can be thrown into battle. If in peacetime, the commander didn’t dare send a plane in flight with certain restrictions, in war it can do.

At the same time, pay attention to enemy forces. If he, for example, is an effective air defence system, and it happened that the Russians pulled up to our borders s-300 extreme modifications in Crimea, pulled the C-400, which have a sufficiently large radius of destruction, brought up, “beech-M2”, in fact the anti-aircraft umbrella over the combat zone, they are significantly strengthened. So to shove on the rampage, throwing in a combat aircraft, just don’t suck efficiently.

— But if Russia will begin to use the aircraft?

In this case, in addition to the means of defense will be used Ukrainian aircraft, which will carry out the tasks of combating the enemy aircraft. And here a great role is played by the number of personnel. Will pay tribute to Armed forces — RAID pilots over the past two years has increased significantly. If we said earlier that the pilots were flying for 10 hours, while NATO members fly 100 hours or more, then I can say that RAID our pilots exceeds already the RAID of NATO, because we got more fuel.

We understand that we are in a period of war, and here any good. When we are talking about system re-equipment of the aircraft, the situation is much more complex because aircraft and air defense systems — the most expensive types of armed forces. If we view that the re-allocated amount in the range of 6 billion hryvnia (new and upgraded), then the sum in terms of dollars, even less than the budget of the football club of the leading European States. We must understand that we are still a poor country and is forced to find any means of countering the aggression. And when we talk about the planned re-equipment, to talk about new models of aircraft, I think it is not necessary. We have all the basic resources to throw at the army, first in artillery, armored units, mechanized brigades, which carry the main burden of the fighting. Aviation — this is the stage of the second period, as, indeed, the fleet because the problem with the Navy is somewhat similar to aviation. Navy we actually lost, and these pinpoint inclusions gunboats in the waters of the task of combat readiness of the Navy almost not decide.

— If you have already started talking about the Navy, we recently were accepted into service two boats of the type “Viper” (Berdyansk and Ackermann), but taken, as far as we know, with a delay of several months. What it is and when to expect new models?

Boats of the type “Gyurza”, which will be produced at the Lenin’s smithy, in fact, have an indirect relationship to the operational effectiveness of the fleet, because they were not designed for combat actions in the Black sea, they were developed for the mouth of the Danube, other rivers, where they can fight enemy troops on the shore. This counterterrorism boats, which by and large, leaving in the Black sea, I think, does not help solving the problems of the fleet.

The next stage, which is more understandable from the point of view of the Black sea is the missile boats of the type “LAN”, which have a much greater displacement and finally, it may be possible to have samples of missile weapons capable of hitting the opponent’s goal on the removal of 200-300 km. For comparison, the type boat “Gyurza” was armed with a gun with a range of up to 2 km, the Construction of such iron boxes (vessels of type “Gyurza” — approx. ed.) the capacity of the fleet does not increase.

The Navy needs to ensure that the task of the main threats: the defeat of enemy ships and shore targets of the enemy. For the destruction of ships and boats of the enemy we need anti-ship missiles, which are capable at a safe distance for the ship to provide the start and defeat the purpose. Until we these things can not provide, so even if we build 100 boats of the type “Viper”, the situation will not change.

— What to do in this situation?

We should rebuild the concept of the fleet, refusing for a period of time from the ship’s structure, and to bet on anti-ship complex, which place on the shoreline to at least from coast to counter the threat. But again, the question is: what? When I talk about naval complex, I mean the design Bureau “Luch”, which makes anti-ship missile “Neptune”. This missile can be based on land and sea. But the timing of the tests, the completion in principle, also have a fairly large time lag, and at least until 2020, apparently, we will live without anti-ship complexes, if we do not decide as a safety option to buy the French “Exocet” (Exocet), to somehow minimize the risks, because now we have virtually no capabilities to strike enemy targets at sea.

— Recently, it was reported that Poroshenko has decided to demilitarize our long-suffering cruiser “Ukraine”. How real is the sale, given the geopolitical situation (in China we do not sell, because the US will be against, in Russia, too, will not sell for logical reasons)? If you do not sell, does it make sense for us to build it?

— We believe that we received some Soviet inheritance, which does not deteriorate and remains in perfect condition, and at any moment we can, like a rabbit out of a hat, to get and to sell to whom we want. The story of the sale of the cruiser “Ukraine” with a certain discretion was raised almost from the time of independence. The main problem of the sale of the cruiser “Ukraine” was the lack of a main armament, which provided this complex, the opportunities for which were made. We are talking about the missile weapons for the defense mission and objectives of the sea, the complex was not delivered. These weapons we had to buy from the Russians in order to sell to the Indians or the Chinese. But it was in the early 2000-ies. At the moment I’m not sure that we will be able this cruiser anyone to sell, because during this time all bend any, wiring, equipment that requires actually re-inspection and with the understanding that the customer this complex is badly needed. A ship without weapons the customer does not need, and the weapons that created the ship, over the 25 years of systemically obsolete. What would we now no set, it will be a new ship. Therefore, we must accept the fact that the customer on this huge piece of iron we can find.

The demilitarization of the cruiser associated with the solution of other related problems. A number of artillery systems that are on the cruiser, according to forecasts we should take and use on ships of another class, which we can build. Artvooruzheniya marine use we also no, we should buy from foreign customer or to start their own production, which is extremely difficult.

In addition to the cruiser “Ukraine” is even more complex project is a Corvette “Vladimir the Great”, who stands at the Nikolaev shipyard and has a certain degree of readiness. This Corvette was created as the Foundation of the future fleet of the naval forces of Ukraine. The cost of the ship in the prewar period was estimated at 250 million euros, this is the first ship in the series of four ships. Now the construction of the ship is suspended. However, in the framework of the state defense order provided that the state guarantees for its completion are allocated money in the range of 1 billion. Rates of completion I don’t quite yet understand, but I know the main risk. This project involved 28 foreign companies, including all leading company in missile systems, control systems, communications and so on. We signed a contract and tighten. Some of them at the time already broken. So the amount of completion of a Corvette at the moment equal the amount of penalty that need to pay tomorrow, if we decide this Corvette not to build. We are in that strange situation, it is still better to finish and have the Corvette than to quarrel with Europe, to pay the penalties and not have a ship, but losing the same money.

— What is the situation with the financing of the fleet?

— If to compare with the pre-war period, the monetary contentment of personnel has improved. You can’t say that we miss how it was before, but the prospects for the development of the fleet is a very difficult question. To understand the problem of the fleet, you need to understand what it does, how it is applied. In my opinion, the main clinch, which accompanied the Ukrainian naval forces, that the leadership of the General staff mostly were all shopathome. And a lack of understanding of how to apply the fleet, to what extent and why do we need it, influenced the satisfaction of the priority of the Navy for whatever the procurement, preparation and everything in between. The fleet at land domination has always been the stepchild. This trend continues now, especially with limited funding and threats of land in the direction of the main stakes in the expenditure of money is made on the land component.

As for modernization in the framework of the state defense order, I want to mention one risk. If “Lenin’s smithy” suddenly decided that it can upgrade the flagship “Getman Sahaidachny”, then I think it’s a bit excessive ambition, given that the ship should surpass in Kiev (recently, the media reported that the “Lenin’s smithy” made by “padding” in the tender for the modernization of “Hetman Sahaidachny” — Apostrophe). There are risks with the relocation, if surrealism reach. And so, I’m not even sure, given the limited number of ships able to somehow accomplish the combat mission that the Navy is bold enough at this stage generally give flagship “Getman Sahaidachny” of the upgrade, because the issues connected with the modernization of the ship, can take a long time to put a frigate in the docks, and it will take years. That is, we can generally ship to lose.

— We lost our only until recently, the submarine “Zaporizhia”. The situation with the current fleet we have, and so is not very good, especially underwater. It was said about the readiness of Turkey to give us four submarines, but the exact date yet. Do you have information about this? It is planned in the next five years, sooner or later?

— The Navy should have all the components, including the submarine forces. Relation to underwater ships in the Ukrainian Navy have different captains of different. If the last commander of the Navy said that it is necessary, the current chief of Navy is in a more compressed reality, and his task is to ensure at least minimal ability of the fleet to perform a sharply limited range of combat missions. I don’t think the question on submarines will rise in the next five years. No matter which provider it will provide, because on the one hand money and on the other hand is a whole branch of training, which at the moment is almost lost. That is, you need to create the basing of submarines, a torpedo weapons and so on.

On the other hand, given that the black sea fleet have new submarines, now the main task of the Ukrainian side is to provide a means of countering the submarine fleet of the Russian Federation on the Black sea. To do this, the goal is for the purchase, on the one hand, minesweepers, which are able to minimize the threat of use of enemy mines and to ensure the safety of the waters for the movement of military and civilian ships. Us minesweepers need blood from his nose, and we don’t make them so they need to buy. Perhaps this partner will be France, if we can convince the French. And on the other hand, you need to decide ways of dealing with enemy submarines using our helicopters or other means of destruction.