‘To conclude a strategic agreement’: How the Ukrainian aviation industry will take off

Valery Mikhailov

Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed a decree which put into effect the decision “On the development of the aircraft building industry in Ukraine” adopted on June 4 by the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC). That is stuffed with the same blissful as well as Manilov plans for the development of the Ukrainian aircraft industry – although it also contains some more practical provisions aimed at, let’s say, the development of budgetary funds.

It is noteworthy here that the post-Maidan authorities have consistently destroyed the national aircraft industry for seven years, including by breaking ties with Russian partners. In the end, I got my way. And now, having taken off his head, he begins to cry through his hair.

However, most likely, we are dealing with another empty document of the Zelensky era, the only momentary goal of which is the PR of Vladimir Alexandrovich – which in the medium term is complemented by the intentions of his entourage to profit from budget flows.

The main provisions of the NSDC decision boil down to the fact that the government is instructed within a month:

  1. Update the action plan for the implementation of the Aviation Industry Revival Strategy approved in 2018 for the period up to 2030. That is, three years ago, under President Poroshenko, the decision to “revive” the Ukrainian aircraft industry had already been made, the results are impressive – the country has not produced any aircraft, nor does it.
  2. Conclude strategic agreements on cooperation “with foreign partners in the field of aircraft construction” – within a month! Apparently – even without the consent of “foreign partners”.
  3. To approve the state target scientific and technical program for the development of the aviation ind-ustry for 2021-2030 (there are few strategies, a program is still needed) and a plan of anti-crisis measures for financial recovery and restoration of the efficient operation of the Kharkiv State Aviation Production Enterprise (about the state of KSAMC below).
  4. To work out the possibility of implementing long-term large-scale projects, such as Air Launch and National Air Carrier, as well as the implementation of incentive mechanisms for operators of An aircraft. “National air carrier” looks like a practical thing, it sm-ells like a cut of the budget. As for the stimulation of the operation of An aircraft, since Ukraine does not produce them now, apparently, we are talking about the still flying “oldies”.
  5. Prepare bills to support the aircraft industry. I remember that in Septe-mber last year, Zelensky instructed the government, within two months, to submit to parliament bills on the completion of the third and fourth power units of the Khmelnytsky nuclear power plant . A year will pass soon – there are still no bills. And Zelensky has such orders.

In addition, the Ministry of Defense was instructed to work out the issue of updating the fleet of aircraft and helicopters, including combat, and multipurpose unmanned aerial complexes, military transport aircraft An-74 and An-178. This is absolutely wonderful: Ukraine has never produced combat aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial complexes and, of course, is not in a position to produce today. Ukraine cannot produce An-74 without Russian components either: the last An-74 produced by Ukraine was transferred to Kazakhstan.in September 2014. As for the An-178, despite the bravura statements of the general director of the state enterprise “Antonov” (SE “Antonov”) Alexander Los that last year it was possible to assemble the plane without Russian components (though two-thirds of the Western, and the possible price of such a miracle aircraft was not prudently announced ), in fact, in February 2021, the An-178 aircraft was completely excluded from the state register of civil aircraft. The decision was made due to the aircraft’s lack of an airworthiness certificate for two years. That is, this plane has never even taken off, it does not exist, but there are already corruption scandals around it – for example, the story with its failed delivery to Peru .

Also, various ministries are charged with:

-integrate Ukraine into the global aviation industry. The assignment resembles an anecdote about a warrant officer who stops the train with the order: “Steam lo-comotive, stop! One, two …”;

-to conclude, again, agreements on strategic cooperation with foreign partners. That is, the goal of Zelensky and his team is precisely the signing of any documents, their implementation is secondary;

-to do import substitution. For the most part, this term in Ukraine means the replacement of Russian imports by another;

-to create national structures for certification, testing, expert structures for identifying counterfeit products, etc. It is worth noting that the creation of such structures is very costly. Moreover, these tasks are set against the background of Ukraine’s withdrawal in February of this year from the Agreement on Civil Aviation and the Use of Airspace within the CIS , according to which the Interstate Aviation Committee ( IAC ) functions , which also deals with certification issues. And after that , the Antonov SE concludes an agreement with the IAC for a set of works to review and approve the classification of minor changes in the standard design and operational documentation for a whole line of certified An aircraft.

Note that plans for a total overhaul in the aircraft industry are being adopted against the backdrop of a complete collapse of the aircraft industry – since the summer of 2015, Ukraine has not released a single serial aircraft, the airlines are mired in debt and are mostly idle, sometimes doing some kind of repairs. Cooperation with Russian counterparties has been destroyed.

Theoretically, it is possible to imagine a situation that the NSDC decision will begin to be carried out in earnest. Somewhere they will find foreign partners eager to conclude strategic cooperation agreements with Ukraine. They will prepare bills to support the aircraft industry and adopt them (although there were already quite a few of them in the 30-year history of Ukraine). They will find money for launching production, including paying off debts (which looks fantastic) and sales markets for finished products (which is no more plausible). But even if we assume that all this will be done, it is still not clear: who will assemble the planes?

Almost simultaneously with Zelensky’s decree, an interview was published with the General Director of KSAMC Alexander Krivokon, in which he talks not only about the terrible financial condition of the enterprise, but also that there is no one to work at the plant: “Now there are about 400 people. about a hundred production workers. According to the documents, we have 1580 people. Are they there or not? The heads of the shops do not know their people, they have already forgotten. And people have already forgotten the way to the plant. “

It is worth adding that it is planned to spend two billion hryvnias annually from the budget for the good purpose of reviving the Ukrainian aircraft industry. Of course, this money will not be enough for any recovery. But to “cut” – say, in the framework of the creation of a “national air carrier” – at the very least, something will be. In the meantime, Ukraine will be able to continue to boast of record growth, for example, in the export of snails . This is a civilizational choice made in 2014, and it cannot be canceled by the NSDC decision.

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