The UA Aero industry takes off?

August 7, 2018

Following agreements with Turkey in over the past few months, it was recently announced that Boeing and Anatov have signed an agreement relating to the supply of parts to circumvent supply-chain issues relating to Russia.  (In particular, for the An-148, An-158, An-178 aircraft, the family of which will be designated An-1X8.)

Previously the Swiss AIR-ION Technologies signed up to the beginning of the bureaucratic process of partnership in hybrid and electric powered drone/UAVs in Ukraine.

It now appears that Odessa Aircraft Plant has reached agreement to begin development and production of aircraft with US Aviastar Investment Corp and the Czech Distar company.

The details of what will be produced remains unclear, however there it is known an agreement to establish an international Regional Service Center for the current and major repair of aircraft and helicopters, as well as the introduction of a number of procedures and processes in the context of organizing training for cadets and pilots under the current NATO programs have also been reached.

In the current European defence climate there would appear to be several obvious weak points where Ukrainian expertise at designing and building large aircraft entirely in country would seem to have a marketplace.  Among those most obvious weak points are the ability to move large amounts of equipment and personnel by air around Europe, as well as a distinct inability for air-refuel on any notable scale.

This European capability gap compared to the US abilities is perhaps most easily explained in broad (and less than nuanced) brushstrokes by the fact the US tends to fight its wars far from home – necessitating the ability to have the logistical/tale end capabilities to move large numbers of troops and equipment large distances fairly swiftly, and keep them supplied and combat operable.

The Europeans are historically far more likely to expect conventional wars to occur on the European continent and for those engagements to include alliances in some shape or form that would at the very least provide strategic bases for deployment and logistical support – be they hot or cold wars.

The outcome of this thinking (leaving nuclear and submariner deterrents aside) is a distinct lack of European ability for air-refueling or large scale air deployment capabilities in comparison to the US over the past 30 years (or more) of military planning.

With trust in the US somewhat eroded in the current European political climate, naturally European military and defence establishment leaders will be looking at what and where the Europeans rely most heavily upon the US – and enormous Ukrainian transport aircraft built entirely within a nation reliant upon good relations with the Europeans would seem a natural situational fit.

Economics aside, for Ukraine to continually seep further and further into the supply chain of the European defence market is naturally something the nation’s leadership will actively encourage.  The more ties to the European Union and its members the better as far as Kyiv is concerned.   Better still if that occurs in sensitive arenas such as defence and defence procurement/supply -chains.

There is also the important matter of tech transfer from which Ukraine will certainly benefit as it seeps further into the defence supply chain of Europe.

After drones and aircraft, the logic extension will be missiles and space (again in which Ukraine has expertise).

It remains to be seen whether the Ukrainian (defence) Areo industry is taking off or not – but prima facie it does appear it may just get its wheels up.

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