Ukraine showed the world an aviation miracle, in which they did not believe

Valery Mikhailov

The Ukrainian government approved the State Target Scientific and Technical Program for the Develop-ment of the Aviation Industry for 2021-2030. In the end – not all the same strategies can be asserted, you can pay attention to programs. Well, why the aircraft industry suddenly fell into the field of view of the Ukrainian government, Zelensky said well, who recently announced his desire to fly and bomb everyone.

As a result of the implementation of the aviation program, the authors promise: – to keep 50 thousand jobs and create 6,000 new jobs in ten years; – to ensure the serial production of aircraft, aircraft engines and other aircraft; – to develop new cargo aircraft, a Ukrainian helicopter, unmanned aerial vehicles for civilian use and to modernize existing types of passenger and cargo aircraft and helicopters, flight simulators; – to bring the volume of sold products to ten billion dollars by 2030; – to develop new aircraft engines; – to start international projects of cooperative development and production of AN aircraft with foreign partners, to increase the volume of exports of aircraft equipment and services to 5.5-7.5 billion dollars for the period 2021-2030.

Not to say that the export of aircraft worth 550-750 million dollars a year is a fantastic value. For example, one Airbus A380 costs 390-490 million dollars.

The question is different: is Ukraine in principle able to ensure the development of its aviation industry?

Of course, the current program for the development of the aviation industry for Ukraine is far from the first. The previous one (for the period up to 2020) was adopted in 2008. And it was even financed by 40%, which is generally not bad by Ukrainian standards, and even more so taking into account what happened in 2014 and after the events.

Prior to that, since 2000, the State Comprehensive Program for the Developm-ent of the Aviation Industry of Ukraine for the period up to 2010 was in effect . And even before it – the program for the development of the aircraft industry, dated 1992. Earlier programs were given large-scale benefits. And then Ukraine could afford direct budget financing in much larger volumes.

However, all this time, the Ukrainian aviation industry has mostly degraded. Only the work of the Motor Sich company remained stable until 2014 . Moreover, the Antonov company, with its own design bureau, periodically gave out bursts in the form of the completion of the An-70 program started back in the USSR or the An-148 post-Soviet program.

But at the same time, the stable activity of Motor Sich was primarily associated with the supply of engines for the Russian aviation industry. And the aforementioned programs An-70 and An-148 were implemented not only in cooperation with Russian enterprises, but also to a large extent for Russian money – and with a focus on the Russian market. It was these circumstances that allowed Ukraine at that time to avoid the complete collapse of its aircraft industry.

Moreover, in 2013, Russia offered Ukraine not only a $ 15 billion loan and an additional discount on gas prices, but also the utilization of its aircraft and shipbuilding enterprises. Of course, in case of refusal to sign the economic part of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU. It was about the continuation of Russian purchases of engines for Motor Sich, the mass production of the An-148 in Voronezh under the license of the Antonov company and with some Ukrainian components, as well as in Ukraine with Russian components, the deployment of the mass production of the An-70 cargo in both countries … The project was more than half funded by Russia, and the share of Russian components in the aircraft exceeded 50%. In the summer of 2013, the parties agreed to resume production of the An-124 Ruslan – a joint venture was even created.

How it all ended is kno-wn. In June 2014, Poroshe-nko banned military-technical cooperation with Russia. The ban also applied to dual-use goods, that is, the entire aircraft industry.

Actually, as a result, the serial assembly of aircraft in Ukraine stopped back in June 2015 – since then not a single aircraft has been delivered to customers. It could not be otherwise, since in Ukraine there is nothing even remotely similar to a closed cycle of their production. On the other hand, projects for the development of more and more new models are being born in a continuous stream, at the highest level they talk about the imminent restoration of aircraft production in dozens of pieces a year. But what is there – being in the United States , Zelensky said that Ukraine “is again building its own planes, helicopters, tanks and the navy.” So what, what is only in his fantasies – but it sounds beautiful.

Nevertheless, even within the framework of the rapid collapse of the aviation industry in 2011-2020, the volume of sales of products of the aviation industry in Ukraine amounted to $ 13.1 billion (most of it, however, fell on the period of cooperation with Russia). It’s funny that this is directly recognized as an unsatisfactory result. And now, as part of the development of the industry, it is planned that it will produce ten billion dollars worth of products over the next ten years. That is even less. It is planned to achieve this result thanks to the financing of the program for 1.3 billion dollars, of which 700 million will be provided by the budget, and another 600 by the enterprises themselves. That is, it is planned to borrow 600, since the enterprises do not have their own money.

At the same time, the program does not in any way reveal the question of what Ukraine is going to do with the total (more than half) dependence of its aircraft industry on imported components. The agreed means are clearly not enough to even partially overcome it. If it is planned to purchase Western components (instead of Russian ones), then the experience with an attempt to alter the An-70 for them has clearly demonstrated that this is the road to nowhere. In this case, the Ukrainian aircraft becomes uncompetitive even in price, not to mention the possibilities of financing projects, the quality of assembly, service maintenance, promotion on the market, and so on. Another problem is the exodus of workers and engineers from factories after six years of downtime, multiplied by the degradation of higher and vocational education systems. The program does not provide an answer to the question of who will physically implement everything conceived.

This creates a strong feeling that the goal of the program is to get the coveted funding. After all, the authors act on the principle of the well-known anecdote: “You fry, fry – there will be fish!” In the sense that the main thing for them is precisely the allocation of money from the budget and the possibility of lending against government guarantees. Moreover, the head of state also likes fairy tales about flying Ukrainian planes. There is no doubt about the ability to use this money. And it hardly makes sense to worry about the results of the program in ten years, when Ukraine, most likely, will not even have memories of the aviation industry.

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