Ukraine Pushing Sales in India
By WENDELL MINNICK
BANGALORE, India - A Ukrainian defense industry official said Russian arms deals with India are offering opportunities for the former Soviet satellite state. The comments were made at the 2011 Aero India air show being held in Bangalore, India, from Feb. 9-13.
A government-run State Foreign Trade Enterprise (SpetsTechnoExport) source said, "We supply a wide range of services and equipment," including upgrades to existing Indian military aircraft supplied by Russia.
SpetsTechnoExport also promoting the new Antonov An-178 transport aircraft to the Indian military.
"At present, there is only one prototype," he said. "We are awaiting a decision from India, and then we can begin production."
Based on the An-158 regional jet, the An-178 has a ramp cargo door and larger fuselage. It has a range of 3,200 kilometers with a load capacity of 10 tons. The official said India could procure up to 100 An-178 transports.
SpetsTechnoExport is also providing overhaul, life extensions, modernization and spare-parts support for India's An-32, MiG-21 and MiG-29 aircraft, he said. In many ways, Ukrainian companies are riding Russian coattails from bigger sales, such as India's recent procurement of the Russian MiG-29K, and there are high hopes India will select the MiG-35 in the current fighter competition.
SpetsTechnoExport is promoting a variety of new systems and services at Aero India, including the "Adros" KT-01AVE Infrared Counter-Measure Station, engine exhaust shields, flare dispenser systems and unmanned aerial vehicle technologies.
One Ukrainian company that has been showing steady growth in India is Motor Sich JSC, an aircraft engine manufacturer with production facilities in India. In 2009, a $400 million contract was signed with the Indian Defense Ministry to upgrade the AI-20 engines in the ageing Antonov An-32 transport aircraft, along with new navigational and radio equipment. The need for upgrades was illustrated just prior to the signing of the contract, when an Indian Air Force An-32 crashed near China, killing everyone on board in 2009.
Motor Sich facilities in Chandigarh, India, have been streamlined for the overhaul of AI-20, TV3-117 and AV-9V engines. The company hopes to expand engine sales and cooperation with the Indian military on future indigenous programs that include fixed wing, helicopter and unmanned aerial vehicle development.