Plugging Gaps in Industrial Capabilities
State-owned Ukroboronprom (UOP), has signed agreements with multiple foreign defence firms, providing increased access to advance systems in a bid to alleviate Ukraine’s defence modernisation struggles.
On 30 August, US-based Global Ordnance announced a multi-year strategic agreement with UOP, with potential business valued at up to $500 million (€421 million). The agreement gives Ukraine access to a global supply chain and a wide range of products, technologies and production capabilities to improve its defence industry infrastructure., Additionally, UOP stated on 1 September that agreements on joint projects, research and compliance have been reached with Lockheed Martin; with L3 Harris Technologies for integration of the corporation’s products into Ukrainian platforms; and with Day & Zimmerman for new production facilities for UOP enterprises, using foreign capital.
Additionally, an agreement between Aselan and UOP subsidiary Ukrspetsexport covers modernisation of Ukrainian air defence systems, and their integration into a C2 network. The original statement on 2 September appears to have been modified, removing references to air defence, but Turkish press reports retain the original wording.
Yuri Grusev, UOP’s Director General, says the government has approved a strategy for development and revitalisation of Ukraine’s defence industry through foreign partnerships, with legislation enacted to establish the necessary framework to expand cooperation and attract investment.
Ukraine has sought multiple foreign partnerships to modernize its armed forces, alongside concerted domestic efforts, since the war with Russia began in 2014. However, slow progress in projects such as air defence modernisation indicates that certain results are no longer possible using state resources alone. It has to rely on digital radios from L3 Harris and Aselsan, for example, its legacy Soviet systems having proved vulnerable to Russian interception. It has also procured the BAYRAKTAR TB2 armed UAV from Turkey and JAVELIN anti-tank missiles from the US, despite having a capable anti-tank missile manufacturer in the form of the Luch Design Bureau.
This recent spate of announcements indicates progress towards filling the gaps left in domestic capabilities by the severance of ties with Russia. Perhaps these agreements will enable further progress in modernising the Ukrainian armed forces, enabling them to deter and avoid escalation with Russia. Just as well: Moscow appears to have no intention of allowing the conflict in east Ukraine to end any time soon.
Morgan Douro reporting for MON