“Europe’s Strongest Army”: Ukrainian Military Tech on the Verge of Extinction

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After the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine inherited thousands of units of military equipment ranging from assault rifles to fighter-bombers and missile technologies. But over time, these armaments have become obsolete as Kiev failed to invest in modernizing its arsenal. In one infamous case, it even supplied North Korea with rocket engineering for no long-term profits.

Nikolai Protopopov has discussed with military analysts the difficulties experienced by the Ukrainian defense industry. According to the journalist, spare parts are essential to carrying out repairs to Ukraine’s military equipment, but this is already impossible since Ukraine has severed relations with Russia to a considerable extent and therefore lacks the economic resources for and access to the spare parts needed for repair, aviation expert and editor-in-chief of Avia.ru, Roman Gusarov, explained.

“It would be much easier to buy new equipment or Russian aircraft, but Ukraine cannot afford it,” he added.

The Ukrainian military, which Kiev regime ruler Poroshenko has proclaimed “Europe’s strongest army” standing against “Russian aggression”, has suffered severe decline since the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the deterioration of relations with Russia. 

Gusarov also explained that although Ukraine has its own companies capable of producing certain elements, they are incapable of producing complicated components such as aircraft engines. For this reason, most of Ukrainian weaponry is becoming inoperative, writes Protopopov.

NATO as a solution to the problem?

One of the latest modernization projects that Ukraine has been pursuing is to adapt its Su-24 bombers, and its military as a whole, to NATO standards.

The latter renovated fighter-bombers will be called Su-24MR’s and most of the changes will be related to the radio-electronic equipment of the aircraft. In fact, the “ex-bombers” are expected to perform reconnaissance airplane functions.

Despite the enthusiasm of the Ukrainian builders, military experts doubt that these planes will become part of the NATO system.

One of the biggest obstacles is the approval of the project by the leadership of the alliance, notes pilot and doctor of technical sciences, Vladimir Popov. In particular, this is the “friend-enemy” identification system.

“By providing this system, NATO would be revealing part of its secrets, as this system is very important for anti-aircraft defense forces during a military conflict,” Popov said.

The Russian pilot sees in these attempts by Ukraine to modernize its aircraft according to NATO requirements a manifestation of what amount to “dreams about the future and hope that, in the next five or seven years, the country may become part of the alliance” .

For his part, Gusarov believes that attempts to connect up with NATO have a more economic character. According to him, Ukrainian politicians are simply trying to show that they still have some weaponry that continues to work so that NATO can provide them with economic aid to modernize them.

The problem of modernizing military equipment is experiencing a real “boom” in Ukraine, especially since Kiev’s military operations against Donbass began.

Some of these projects have been developed relatively well, but have never seen the light of day. In 2017, a modernized version of the Soviet T-72A tank was presented, which had a new dynamic protection system and night vision equipment. However, mass production has never begun.

At the same time, the T-64BM Bulat tanks were upgraded, which were considered unfit for combat by their excessive weight, combined with a less powerful engine.

The same fate awaited the armored support vehicle Strazh (modeled on the T-64 tank), and armored Azovets, Ovod and Varan. In fact, none of them came to be produced in series. According to the columnist, “it was not out of lack of will, but lack of money.”

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