Defense expo in Istanbul: Ukraine’s Vilkha, Kvitnyk-E, Kaira, and others

Defense expo in Istanbul: Ukraine’s Vilkha, Kvitnyk-E, Kaira, and others

Ukrinform
The Ukroboronprom defense conglomerate has unveiled one of the largest foreign stands at IDEF 2021

Last week, Istanbul hosted Turkey's largest and world’s second-largest international defense exhibition, IDEF 2021. More than 1,200 arms and military equipment manufacturers from around the world were represented at the event, with 154 official delegations from 79 countries attending.

The main exposition includes the latest military and technological products and promising projects of Turkish defense companies. Stands set up by other countries are smaller in area, but no less interesting in terms of what’s being showcased. One of the largest foreign stands was presented by the Ukroboronprom State Concern.

FROM AVIA TO AQUA: UKRAINE’S LEADING DEFENSE ENTERPRISES REPRESENTED ON UKROBORONPROM’S STAND

More than a dozen Ukrainian defense companies were represented at Ukroboronprom’s stand (among more than 20 of them attending the event), including the Konotop Aircraft Repair Plant Aviacon, Research and Design Shipbuilding Center, the Morozov Kharkiv Design Bureau for Mechanical Engineering, the Malyshev Plant, the Zorya – Mashproekt Research and Production Complex for Gas Turbine Construction, and others.

At the forefront of Ukroboronprom’s stand is a Vilkha rocket projectile, the Kvitnyk-E guided artillery shell with laser homing, R-360 Neptun cruise missile, and ATGM Skif.

Models of the Project 1760KR composite floating dock with a submarine, the Project 58208 Bohomol rocket artillery boat, and the Kaira-150 multifunctional boat occupied a special spot under the glass.

This year's exhibition is closed to the general public due to pandemic restrictions, but the stands are crowded anyway. Among the visitors are mostly official delegations (154 from 79 countries). And many are willing to have a closer look at the products by Ukrainian manufacturers.

JSC Motor Sich and JSC FED both have separate stands. These are highly acclaimed companies that are not new to the Turkish market. Therefore, they have arrived in Istanbul not to get acquainted with anyone, but to negotiate specific positions and to expand the horizons of cooperation, mostly with familiar, proven partners.

UKRAINIAN DEBUTS AND HARDENED PLAYERS

Ukraine’s Chernivtsi-based Inspecprom is participating for the first time. They have sealed orders in Ukraine, supplying products to the Armed Forces and the National Guard. The next stage for development is to enter international markets. A prominent spot on their stand is offered to the VPR-20 Sapphire infantry flamethrower.

Another Ukrainian company presented at a separate stand at IDEF 2021 is Spectechnomash Research and Production Center (Kremenchuh Cartridge Plant). It offers services and equipment for the manufacture of small arms ammo of all major calibers. The history of the firm dates back to 2017, when, after the onset of Russian aggression in 2014, leading specialists with the Luhansk Ammunition Plant decided to restore this enterprise in government-controlled Kremenchuh. Documentation and equipment remained in the occupied Luhansk, so the team began to rebuild the capacities, in fact, from scratch. Now they operate rather successfully, with the lion's share of orders coming from foreign customers.

AVIATION AND SPACE HIGH ON AGENDA

The Ukrainian delegation was headed by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Strategic Industries Oleh Urusky. According to Vice PM, cooperation with Turkey in the military-industrial sector is of a strategic nature as the two countries continue to develop it within the framework of existing projects and to expand the range of cooperation.

Among the issues discussed at the highest level during the IDEF 2021 was expanding cooperation in the aviation industry, including on UAVs, helicopters, as well as exploring opportunities for establishing joint ventures, involving Turkish partners in setting up in Ukraine a number of industrial parks.

Interaction in space and aviation is especially interesting for both parties. The Ukrainian side is ready for mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of aircraft engine construction, joint use of outer space, and production of rocket carriers and satellite platforms.

Turkish partners have a special interest in deepening business relations, as evidenced by concrete successful examples. In particular, Ivchenko-Progress has been fruitfully cooperating with Turkey’s Baykar Makina, which currently employs Ukrainian engines for their new generation of Akıncı drones, and plans to install them on all the company's products in the future. Bayraktar TB2 strike drones are already in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

These drones have been adopted by both our land and naval forces. On Independence Day, this model was presented at a military parade in Kyiv. Also in Turkey, the construction of the first MILGEM project ADA class corvette for the Ukrainian Navy is already underway. On the agenda is the creation of a joint venture production of UAVs. As Oleh Uruskyi told Ukrinform, now the project is at the stage of approving a production site.

Among the specific agreements reached at IDEF 2021 is the creation of a Mi-17 helicopter repair base in Turkey (the agreement was signed between Ukrspecexport and the Turkish company THK Teknik A.S.). This document testifies to continued cooperation. Back in 2018, Ukrspecexport in partnership with THK Teknik A.S. won the tender for the repair of Mi-17 multi-role helicopters for the Turkish Gendarmerie Command. The terms of the tender provided for the repair of 18 helicopters. The current agreement has brought cooperation to a new level.

RUSSIA'S OPPOSITION TO UKRAINE-TURKEY DEFENSE COOPERATION IS IN PLACE BUT UNABLE TO AFFECT IT

In general, Ukrainian defense firms are reluctant to talk about their agreements with international partners. Such agreements "love silence", as they say, while Ukraine’s northern neighbor has been trying its best to hinder Ukrainian-Turkish cooperation in the field of defense.

Vadym Nozdria, Ukrspecexport CEO, told Ukrinform there are attempts by Russia to disrupt such cooperation. It ranges from certain manifestations of the information hybrid war to measures to compromise Ukrainian companies supplying products to the Turkish market.

"It could have had an effect, but Ukraine and Turkey are confidently building strategic relations, actively cooperating and, on principle, they don’t pay attention to such manifestations. That is why we are repairing Turkish helicopters, supplying air defense systems, having prospects for strengthening cooperation in the naval sphere,” said the head of Ukrspecexport. This state-owned enterprise last year earned more than $30 million on Turkish contracts (about 15% of foreign exchange earnings from all foreign trade contracts).

STRATEGIC PLANNING AND GUARANTEES BENEFITING COOPERATION

Turkish partners in the framework of IDEF 2021 stressed they are interested in expanding cooperation, as its current level is far from the available potential. But they expect some steps to be taken by Ukraine, too. In particular – protection guarantees for their investments, simplification of bureaucratic procedures, and invariability of strategies and actions on the part of Ukraine in the future.

Practical steps have already been taken in this regard. On August 20, by his Decree, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky approved the Strategy for the Development of the Defense Industry of Ukraine, which will be implemented in three stages (the first one until 2022, the second – until 2024, and the third – until 2030). Based on this document, state programs for the development of the defense industry and import substitution will be prepared.

On the same day, at a meeting of the Government Committee on National Security and Defense, Strategic Industries, Fuel and Energy Complex and Infrastructure, the Government put forward the State Program for the Development of the Aviation Industry for 2021-2030. This area of ​​cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey is among the most promising ones.

Olha Budnyk, Istanbul - Ankara

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