The President held a meeting on the problems, prospects and development of the space industry. General Director of the Pivdenne [Yuzhnoye] Design Bureau Oleksandr Dehtiariov presented projects in the aerospace, defense-industrial and transport spheres, particularly on participation in the international projects Sea Launch and Land Launch, the joint Ukrainian-Brazilian project Cyclone-4, the development of the rocket Antares and the Earth remote sensing (ERS) satellite system Sich. The President touched upon prospects for cooperation with other countries, particularly the Republic of Kazakhstan, where the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the world’s largest operational space launch facility, is located.
Attendees included Deputy Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Hennadiy Zubko, Advisor to the President and Director of the National Institute for Strategic Studies Volodymyr Horbulin, as well as head of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration Ihor Kolomoisky.
Petro Poroshenko also visited the Machine-Building Plant Pivdenmash (Yuzhmash), which is affiliated with Pivdenne Design Office. The President stated that Pivdenmash products will be included in the 2015 state defense order. “I am giving instructions to amend the state defense order and initiate funding of production of precision weapons, cruise missiles and tactical weapons and systems,” the President said while in Dnipropetrovsk.
The President noted that state defense orders for precision weapons were terminated in 2009. “We must be confident that our army, our Armed Forces and their equipment meet the highest world standards,” he said. While inspecting production capacities of the plant and communicating with its workers, the Head of State expressed his belief that Ukraine should regain the status of a country with a strong space program, noting, “The state can be proud of its achievements developed by Pivdenmash.” After visiting the plant, the President said that he is convinced that there are grounds for such confidence.
“We find ourselves in a difficult situation. You know that our space technology was developed in cooperation with Russia. Now all shipments have been terminated, but under such difficult conditions, the board and staff of the plant have found opportunities and are ready to offer their services to the whole world,” the President said. Pivdenmash has joint projects with Brazil and pilot projects with the United States. Cooperation with Türkiye is also promising.
As was reported by UNIAN on September 25, 2014, Pivdenmash wants to help NASA replace Russian spacecrafts with American ones by participating in joint US-Ukraine projects. Washington plans by 2017 to send astronauts to the International Space Station without the help of Russia. The State Machine-Building Plant Pivdenmash hopes to participate in the new NASA program Space Taxi to deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS),using American crafts instead of Russian. The proposal was made by the company’s director Sergei Voight at the international aerospace forum “Ukraine’s space industry: essential for economic modernization.” According to Voight, both enterprises can benefit from a program that satisfies the requirements of NASA. “We can offer the development of launch vehicles, staging of missiles and rockets, engines, case parts and components, which we are currently able to do not worse than our American colleagues,” said Voight. He stated that proposals had been sent to the US government. The director of Pivdenmash mentioned that the major competitors of Ukraine for this project are Russian, French, German and American aerospace companies.
” Private space is in fashion now, which is why there are so many competitors. But we hope that we can win based on the experience and skill we have at Design Office Pivdenne and our hard work. We produce the best missiles in their class,” added the director of Pivdenmash.
International interest in the Ukrainian defense industry is growing. Roman Romanov, the general director of the Ukrainian defense industry holding UkrOboronProm, announced a new contract for $1.5 billion, UNIAN reported on October 21, 2014.
“This contract for products from 20 Ukrainian defense enterprises were highly evaluated by international contractors,” said Romanov, who explained that 10 experts had inspected the enterprises that will fulfill this contact and that the results of the inspection fully satisfied international inspectors.
To coordinate activities, UkrOboronProm and NATO agreed to form a joint working group on September 26, 2014. This agreement was reached at a meeting between Roman Romanenko, General Director of UkrOboronProm, and Head of the Department of Defense Investments of NATO International Secretariat Major-General Henrik Dam. They discussed aspects of technical cooperation between Ukraine and the alliance. In particular, they discussed issues concerning cooperation with NATO Support Agency (NSPA) and active implementation of NATO standards.
Cooperation between Sweden and Ukraine in the defense industry sector, which was discussed in an earlier Euromaidan Press article, looks promising. Valentyn Badrak, director of the Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies, commented in the article, “Ukraine is ready to rearm in a way that is unusual for Europe…” Quoted in the newspaper Day, he said: “The Swedes are very strong in terms of fire control systems, weapons, and radar technology. The Swedish company SAAB is a major manufacturer of aircraft (although they are all single-engined). Under certain conditions, they can be integrated into the Ukrainian Air Force. The Swedes understand that the Ukrainians would prefer to buy weapons that have Ukrainian enterprises participating in their production, and therefore they will offer technologies that can be integrated in the Ukrainian defense industry. Creation of a joint project in the light armored vehicles category, equipped with jointly developed anti-missile systems, is possible as well. Ukraine also has some interesting projects, and sells them even to NATO countries, but we are talking here about cooperative projects that may be used by agreement of the parties in the interests of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and in the interests of the Swedish Armed Forces, as well as in the markets of third countries.”
For the internal market, UkrOboronProm will increase production from UAH 4 billion (approximately $310 million) to UAH 17 (approximately $1.3 billion, according to the current exchange rate).
Written by Dr. Vitalii Usenko, MD, MBA, expert of the Center of Military-Political Studies in the sphere of psychology of communications and by Dmytro Usenko, student at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto