A key to understanding Putin’s motives

19 March 2014

Today, perhaps, there isn’t a single thinking person in the world who isn’t trying to find the answer to the question about the ultimate goals of the Russian President. We, as experts, every day hear the same question from politicians, diplomats, journalists, and members of our families. The Gorshenin Institute draws your attention to the article written by a Russian journalist and military analyst Vladimir VORONOV, which was published in Russian monthly magazine Sovershenno Sekretno (Top Secret) on 24 February 2014.

After carefully studying the article, we have arrived at some conclusions. Certainly, the conclusions are based on the hypothesis that the author used reliable and verified information.

1. It seems that the Russian leader is seriously preparing for a third world war. This follows from the amounts and the nature of orders placed with military industrial companies.

2. The myth that Ukraine’s defense industry depends on Russia is being demolished. On the contrary, the Russian military industrial complex in a strategic context is highly dependent on Ukraine.

3. In the light of the hypothetical threat of Ukraine’s association with the European Union and rapprochement with NATO, the goals of the Russian defense enterprises are in jeopardy, and thus access to the Ukrainian defense enterprises needs to be preserved at any cost.

4. The geography of the Ukrainian defense enterprises, with which Russia links its strategic doctrine, strikingly coincides with the geography of the points of instability in Ukraine. We see that some forces in these regions are creating the prerequisites for legitimizing the annexation of the regions based on the Crimea scenario. We should note that one of the points with a high concentration of such objects is the city of Kyiv.

We should also add the thought by a Russian military expert that Russia may be interested in Ukraine as a huge mobilization reserve of manpower.

We emphasize that these conclusions are made on the assumption of data reliability. We invite you for a discussion on websites LB.UA and Facebook.

Gorshenin Institute

Please see the original text below.

Photo: topwar.ru

SLAVIC BROTHERS IN ARMS. AND IN MONEY

With Maydan and a saga of Yanukovych receiving a 15bn-dollar loan in full swing, sudden frequent visits by Russian high-ranking officials to Ukrainian defence and industrial companies were hardly noticed by anyone.

Local inspection

Dmitriy Rogozin, the main supervisor of Russia's defence industry and its deputy prime minister, made a brief inspection of the key facilities of the Ukrainian defence industry in early December 2013. In particular, this official was especially curious to see Ukrainian manufacturers of rockets and missiles, including the state-owned Makarov Yuzhnyy Machine-Building Plant (Yuzhmash, Pivdenmash) and the state-owned Yangel Yuzhne (Pivdenne) Design Bureau. At Pivdenmash, the Russian delegation was interested in learning about assembly of rockets and missiles. Rogozin did not pass Ukrainian shipbuilders by, namely the Mykolayiv-based Black Sea Shipyard (manufacturer of big ships) and the state-owned company Research and Production Complex for Gas Turbine Manufacturing Zorya-Mashproekt (power units for warships). Rogozin's inspection trip included Zaporizhzhya's aircraft engine making concerns, the Ivchenko-Progress Design Bureau and Motor Sich, as well as the pearl in the crown of Ukrainian aircraft construction, the Kiev-based state-owned company Antonov. There Mr Rogozin discussed cooperation in the manufacturing of An-148/An-158 aircraft and a schedule of joint works under the An-70 military transport aircraft programme, and raised the issue of resuming batch production of the An-124-100 Ruslan.

In parallel, Russian officials unexpectedly started to talk heartily about Ukrainian arms makers: "On Mykolayiv's wharfs, there are 61 Communards and the Black Sea Shipyard, and they stand their dead, abandoned. Like in Tarkovskiy's Stalker film… If we take the aviation industry, no-one cares about it…," Dmitriy Rogozin said on Ekho Moskvy. And, no doubt, the only rescue to the Ukrainian defence industry may come from Russia: "This is the issue of survival for them, they have no other chance… There is no option. What we are offering has no alternative. This is not the issue of a compromise, this is the issue of Ukraine's survival." But once Ukraine heeds Russia's requests, "all of this will be loaded with orders" because "this is the time when we can load Ukrainian companies with our joint orders." A little earlier, hints were dropped that Russia might place up to 10 per cent of its state defence orders with Ukrainian defence and industrial companies: currently, the Russian Defence Ministry is obliged to buy cheap, not at some fantastic prices set by local producers – look, we can buy the same stuff from Ukrainian makers. According to calculations made by some experts, the Ukrainian share of the Russian state defence order can reach as much as 40 per cent – after all, Ukrainian facilities have been collecting dust.

Photo: obzor.mk.ua

So is it it, a helping hand? A large portion, maybe even a lion's share, of the 15bn-dollar loan issued by Moscow to Kiev in late 2013 should be used to support the Ukrainian defence industry.

The dissemination of media reports about the dire state of the Ukrainian defence industry is hardly accidental: they show that nearly all Ukrainian defence manufacturers survive only thanks to Russian contracts, half of its output Ukraine's defence industry produces for Russia, with over 70 per cent of spares and raw stuff coming from Russia. So no one in Ukraine has any illusions about "European" prospects for its defence industry since Europe has more than enough of its own companies in this sector.

However, the Russian care looks truly delightful, especially since it concerns its competitor! It would be naïve to assume that Moscow is ruled by altruistic concerns about the Ukrainian defence industry, its viability, profitability, development or creation of jobs. It would be more logical to get its claws into the assets of a competitor using the government and economic crisis in Ukraine, which is partly confirmed by Rogozin's statements. Although he said that "we are not going to take over any Ukrainian plants", he admitted that the United Engine Building Corporation of Russia is already working "to set up a single engineering centre, which are being joined by the state-owned company Ivchenko-Progress and Antonov Concern in a joint venture, while a joint venture is also being set up with the involvement of the United Aircraft Building Corporation.

However, the "direct grab" theory is trivial and straightforward, as is the version popular with some Kiev political analysts, who believe that Russians want to get a grip on the remains of the Ukrainiain defence industry to finally strangle the competitors. Let us start by saying that all truly profitable projects have long been snatched by oligarchs from Ukraine – or would someone seriously believe that Akhmetovs, Firtashs, Poroshenko, Dobkins and Kerneses did not eat them on their own, kindly having left a good pie to the Russians?!

It is quite remarkable that the problem of defence and industrial cooperation between the two countries is dealt with not by greedy oligarchs, but solely by state officials. Russian arms business representatives show no enthusiasm at all, they sincerely do not care. At least because they are quite happy with the situation when they can declare price policy with regard to their goods and twist the military's hands. The Kremlin has already promised Kiev a share of its state defence order, but the managers of Uralvagonzavod or Klimov [gas turbine maker] are not excited, mildly speaking. It seems that it has nothing to do with business, rather with purely government issues.

В цеху Уралвагонзавода,танк

Uralvagonzavod

Photo: www.e-news.in.ua

The horrible state of Ukraine's defence industry and its dependence on the eastern neighbour are obvious. However, there is more to it: not only the Ukrainian defence industry is dependent on Russia, but the Russian defence industry is highly dependent on the Ukrainian one.

The announced plans for cooperation are vitally important for tackling several important tasks here and now.

Let us try and sort things out. In late 2010, Russia first announced and then endorsed the State Armament Programme for 2011-2020 with the planned budget of around 20,700bn roubles. Initially, this ambitious programme was planned to be carried out by the Russian defence industry alone (the only exception being the construction of Mistral helicopter carriers). However, it has been clear right from the start that the policy of "relying on its own forces" was not entirely realistic. On 3 December 2012, a group of experts from the public council of the military-industrial commission under the Russian government presented an analytical report "Russia as an arms importer: challenges and opportunities" whose conclusions read: it is absolutely impossible to create a fully autonomous Russian defence industry. "Our design bureaus are overloaded now. We are lagging behind even on the Defence Ministry's orders," Dmitriy Rogozin said in December 2013. Thus he inadvertently admitted that Moscow had to intensify its military and industrial contacts with Kiev because the Russian defence industry proved incapable of implementing the rearmament programme on its own.

Motor Sich, monopolist

"We now install foreign engines on helicopters and aircraft. This means that if the border with this state is closed, everything will stop," Lt-Gen of the reserve Anatoliy Sitnov, who used to be in charge of armament of the Russian Armed Forces, said in an interview with the Vzglyad newspaper. The state which the general did not name is Ukraine. And here are some more recent facts: the Zaporizhzhya-based state-owned company Ivchenko-Progress has just received a feasibility study from Russia to create an aircraft engine more powerful than AI-222-25 used in the Yak-130 trainer-fighter aircraft. The Interfax-AVN news agency said that a light attack jet being designed by Russia on the basis of the Yak-130 jet trainer-light attack aircraft required an engine with a bigger thrust. Yak-130 is equipped with the AI-222-25 engine designed specifically for this aircraft by Ivchenko-Progress and manufactured by Zaporizhzhya's Motor Sich. In 2004, Russian aircraft engine manufacturers mastered the production of this engine, although the scale of their output is still insignificant and Motor Sich continues as its main supplier. A modification of the engine was also ordered from Zaporizhzhya.

It is difficult to overestimate the significance of Motor Sich for our aviation at least because its engines are used in all our helicopters, including the combat ones: all modifications of Mi-8, Mi-171, Mi-24, Mi-35, Mi-26, Mi-28, Ka-27, Ka-29, Ka-32, Ka-50, Ka-52... Some of these engines are manufactured (or assembled from supplied components) in Russia, but only some and not very many at all. No earlier than on 18 December 2012, did Russia manage to assemble the VK-2500 engine for Ka-52 and Mi-28 out of Russian components, a local version of TV3-11BMA once designed by Motor Sich specifically for Ka-50. Previously, Russia used to receive the majority of components for VK-2500 from Motor Sich.

It is a known fact that Russian servicemen are expecting over 1,000 new attack helicopters (not including the transport ones) to be delivered shortly, which means at least 3,000 engines, two main ones per each helicopter and at least one spare one. However, Russian manufacturers are clearly not capable yet of producing so many new engines: 50 such engines were planned to be made in 2013, but no victorious reports were observed. Even if everything goes as planned, this is not enough to implement the helicopter programme because old engines will also need to be replaced. Therefore Ukraine's Motor Sich remains the main supplier of VK-2500 and its components as well as other engines for helicopters used by the Russian Air Force. It also remains the supplier of engines for aircraft used by the Russian Air Force and civilian airlines such as Il-18, Il-38, An-8, An-12, An-24, An-26, An-30, An-32, An-72, An-74, An-124, An-140, An-148, Be-12, Be-200, Yak-40, Yak-42…

Photo: sdelanounas.in.ua

The Russian Air Force operates at least 90 jet trainer aircraft L-39 Albatros used for training military pilots, the engines for which are also produced by Motor Sich... In addition to that, Motor Sich is the main supplier of various auxiliary engines for air supply, on-board power supply, aircraft and helicopter salon heating, and launch of their main engines… It seems that as far as helicopter (and the above mentioned aircraft) engines are concerned, Russian aviators' dependence on Ukrainian aircraft engine makers is critical.

Even the aviation team of the Russian president, the special flight detachment Russia of the directorate of presidential affairs (DPA), ended up dependent on the Ukrainian aviation industry! In 2012-2013, the Voronezh Aviation Plant built two An-148-100E aircraft on the request of the DPA. They are assembled in Voronezh, largely from Ukrainian components. Additionally, two more engines D-436-148 made by the Zaporizhzhya-based plant Motor Sich were ordered for these aircraft (possibly, as spare ones).

Also, the Russian Air Force is directly interested in military-transport aircraft made by the Kiev-based state-owned company Antonov. The military are especially interested in joint batch production of An-70 and An-124 since the Russian Il-76 and its modifications do not fill this niche, while Russian concerns do not have and are unlikely to have anything similar to the Antonov products.

According to the information available, the Ukrainian defence industry has many interesting developments as far as aviation is concerned. For example, controlled aircraft armament: the Kiev-based concern Artem manufactures medium-range air-to-air missiles R-27 (ER1, R1, ET1, T1) for MiG-29, Su-27, Su-33, Su-34 and Su35 aircraft. Currently, Artem is the only post-Soviet manufacturer of missiles of this class for such aircraft. The Kiev-based Central Design Bureau Arsenal has designed infrared seekers for close air combat missiles R-60, R-60M and R-73. Arsenal also makes aerial sighting systems (for automatic machine-gun armament aiming and precision bombing) which can be installed at MiG and Sukhoi aircraft and Kamov and Mil helicopters. It also produces the helmet pointing system SHCH-ZUM-11, used by pilots in aircraft such as Su-27 and MiG-29 together with the missile system R-73, and the helmet pointing system Sura for Su-30. The Ukrainian aviation industry also offers various "small things" like drogue parachutes for Su-24, Su-27, and MiG-29, hydraulic and other servos for Yak-130, Ka-52, Mi-24, Mi-28 Mi-8/17, MiG-27, MiG-29, Su-27, Su-30, Su-34, Su-35, Tu-95 and Tu-160.

Will we swim?

Another industry where we can do without Ukraine but with much difficulty and at a higher cost is military shipbuilding. According to the military shipbuilding programme approved by the Kremlin, by the end of 2020, the Russian Navy is expected to receive 24 submarines (eight submarine missile cruisers and 16 multi-purpose submarines) and 54 surface ships of various classes. (According to other reports, it is planned to build 40 submarines, including 10 missile-carrying nuclear submarines, 10 multi-purpose nuclear submarines and 20 non-nuclear submarines, and at least 65 surface ships.) The total funding to be allocated for the implementation of the state armaments programme in 2011-2020, as far as the Navy is concerned, is 5,000bn roubles (about 166bn dollars), of which 47 per cent is to be allocated for the construction of new ships. However, at a meeting in Sochi on 21 May 2013, Putin poured his criticism on shipbuilders over "continuing problems with the timing and quality of the execution of orders," "unreasonably prolonged construction and transfer to the Navy of a number of nuclear submarines and surface ships." Essentially, he said that the military shipbuilding programme was on the edge of disruption, as was openly stated then by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitriy Rogozin. Soon, the supervisors of the Russian defence industry sharply stepped up their efforts with regard to Ukraine, having frequented Mykolayiv wharfs.

Дмитрий Рогозин (в центре)

Dmitriy Rogozin (in centre)

Photo: telegrafist.org

This phenomenon was explained in plain terms in December 2013 by the executive director of the Association of Shipbuilders of Ukraine, Ukrsudprom, Yuriy Alekseyev: Russia simply lacks construction facilities. Simply put, Russian shipbuilders cannot handle the ambitious programme of rearming their own fleet. Especially as far as the construction of aircraft carriers, cruisers, special and auxiliary vessels such as tankers, icebreaking tugs and other are concerned. Meanwhile, Ukraine has three shipbuilding plants in Mykolayiv only, with more facilities in Kherson, Kerch and Sevastopol. "Russia has a big shipbuilding programme and Ukraine can help it to implement it. Ukrainian shipyards are loaded by 30 per cent at most," Alekseyev said. The construction of aircraft carriers looks problematic, according to him, as it requires huge investments. However, Ukrainian shipbuilders' main advantage, if compared with Russians, is their ability to build big ships with the deadweight capacity of up to 180,000 tonnes: "We could offer our partners to build technology-rich hulls at which armaments and equipment having confidential parts would later be installed at Russian plants."

In Mykolayiv, there is also Zorya-Mashproekt, the CIS' biggest designer and manufacturer of gas turbine engines for warships. Zorya-Mashproekt's engines are used at many ships of the Russian Navy (including frigates of the 22350 project under construction, frigates of the 11356R/M project, and promising destroyers of the 21956 project being designed now). Russia has failed to organize the production of such gas turbines therefore, if open sources are to be trusted, 31 (out of 54 planned) new surface ships of the Russian Navy are to be equipped with Ukrainian engines.

Will we fly?

One more sector where it is critical for Russia to cooperate with the Ukrainian defence industry is the missile and space industry. It is a known fact that after the USSR breakdown, one third of this industry ended up on the Ukrainian territory. Something is now "dead" for sure, but something is still operational. In particular, Zenith carrier rockets are still produced in Dnipropetrovsk and it could be rather painful for the Russian space industry to drop them for good. Ukraine also produces elements of control systems for the carrier rockets Proton, Soyuz, Kosmos and for the International Space Station. It is a known fact that all launches of carrier rockets for spacecraft, starting with the flight of Yuriy Gagarin and up to date, made from the cosmodromes Baikonur, Plesetsk and Kapustin Yar, were carried out using the initial orientation equipment provided by the Kiev-based Central Design Bureau Arsenal. And in general, Russian satellites and spacecraft use a lot of Ukrainian equipment and devices.

Photo: spacevids.tv

Another area of Russian-Ukrainian cooperation is the maintenance of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) of the old generation (Soviet-made), which still form the basis of the nuclear missile power of Russia. In particular, RS-20 (also known as RS-36M, or SS-19 Satan according to NATO classification) developed by the Dnipropetrovsk-based design bureau Pivdenne and produced at the Pivdenmash plant. Pivdenne and Pivdenmash experts still provide design supervision warranty service and technical analysis of Russian missiles, taking part in efforts to extend their lifetime. Spare parts for the older generation ICBMs are also delivered by Pivdenmash.

And it is no secret that Russia's nuclear rearmament programme "slightly" sags: missiles in pits age, you cannot prolong the life of Satan indefinitely, while the solid-fuel RS-24 Yars and especially Topol-M are no replacement for Satan because they are fundamentally inferior to their predecessor by their thrust and maximum delivery range. The situation with missiles for submarines is not better at all because Bulava, as we know, does not fly, and new missile carriers are actually unarmed. It is difficult to understand how Russia can create new heavy ICBMs without the Ukrainian state-owned design bureaus Pivdenne and Pivdenmash.

* * *

This explains a sudden surge in Moscow's interest in the Ukrainian defence industry: without cooperation with Ukrainian companies, the Russian rearmament programme seems to be doomed.

Vladimir VORONOV

See the original article on the Sovershenno Sekretno website: http://sovsekretno.ru/articles/id/4047/

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