At the same time, the tough standoff between Kiev and Moscow in the arms market has been talked about for a long time (although in terms of sales volumes of military products to Ukraine, which is difficult to keep in the top ten largest exporters weapons, can not be compared with Russia, which does not leave the first places of the world rating in this business). And in this case, the flare-up excitement is explained by the fact that it would seem that Iraq has become the arena of the competitive struggle between Ukraine and Russia with all its negative manifestations. However, before you take this imposed postulate on faith, you should still understand the situation.
The “Ukrainian weapon epic” in Iraq began nine years ago. The very fact of the participation of the Ukrainian military contingent in the US operation with its allies against Saddam Hussein gave hope that Kiev would receive serious contracts for the so-called restoration of post-war Iraq and the arming of its security forces under the new government. However, prior to the release of Ukrainians from Iraq, Kiev received only modest orders (against the background of billions in US dollars allocated to “rebuilding” Iraq) for the supply of TE-30, 1141 thousands of UAZ army vehicles, 2 thousands of diesel locomotives 1,5 KrAZov. As for military products, the largest deal was the contract for equipping 15 battalions and 6 brigades of the Iraqi army and security forces with army ammunition, while it was carried out by a Ukrainian-American company. In general, it is worth highlighting the fact that among the 15 main programs for restoring the Iraqi economy, Ukrainian enterprises were not involved in any.
However, the situation changed in September 2009, when Ukraine received the first serious arms contract with Iraq for the supply of An-32B aircraft and BTR-4E armored personnel carriers. Ukraine pledged to supply Iraq with 420 armored personnel carriers in the amount of 457,5 million dollars, of which 270 linear BTR-4, 80 commander, 30 headquarters, 30 medical and 10 repair and evacuation vehicles, and 6 transport aircraft AN-32 for the sum of 99 . At the same time, the first contract for 556,5 million dollars was supported by a promising cooperation program between the two countries for five years with a starting budget of 2,5 billion dollars. It was indicated that the supply of Ukrainian aircraft and armored personnel carriers - only a "touchstone". And if the Iraqi side is satisfied with the Ukrainian products and the course of the implementation of contracts, then Kiev can reach a higher level of cooperation with Baghdad, and the total volume of contracts can reach 14 billion dollars - a fantastic number for Ukrainian "defense industry".
But with the implementation of this "trial" contract, as you know, various misunderstandings immediately began. So, instead of November 2010, the first Ukrainian BTR arrived to the customer only in March XNUMHgoda, which is why Kiev did not receive about 2011 million dollars as fines. Then, as reported by the media, specialists from Baghdad, who arrived in Ukraine at the end of May to inspect batches of armored personnel carriers made for Iraq, allegedly found significant defects in weapons and fire control systems. In addition, a legal incident arose: the term of the contract signed with Iraq ended in March 2, and remained unfulfilled through the fault of the Ukrainian side, whereas by the summer of the current year the second batch of BTR, 2012, arrived in Odessa. But it was impossible to legally ship military equipment, since the old contract was no longer in force, and the new one was not signed.
Subsequently, the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Dmitry Salamatin, informed the President of the country, V. Yanukovych, that an agreement was reached with the Prime Minister of Iraq to extend the contract for the supply of military equipment. Meanwhile, the documents published by the media at the time testified that no agreement was reached with the Iraqi Prime Minister. Already at the end of summer, 9 August 2012, Dmitry Salamatin reported to Viktor Yanukovych that the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Iraq decided to meet with the Defense Minister for his own initiative in order to express gratitude for active cooperation in the military-technical sphere. The Iraqi ambassador allegedly assured that "over the last two or three months around the implementation of the Ukrainian-Iraqi contract for the supply of armored personnel carriers, the clouds have been dispelled." And in September, 2012, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine refuted the information that the contract with Iraq for the supply of military equipment was not renewed, and stated that it “works today”. At the same time, the military department, in the context of informational “ducks” around the “Iraqi contract”, began to announce the unfolding “dirty campaign to discredit Defense Minister Dmitry Salamatin”.
In parallel, a corruption scandal erupted in the United States around American intermediaries and their Ukrainian counterparts, ensuring the implementation of the Ukrainian-Iraqi contract. In particular, as American and later Ukrainian media reported, the San Antonio (West Texas, USA) court sentenced the Texas businessman Howard Lowry to pay 61 million 750 thousand dollars from Ukrainian-American brokers who decided not to pay him a commission for participating in an arms deal with Iraq. At the same time, the court established that commission payments for Ukrainian, Iraqi and American intermediaries and participants amount to about 120 million dollars, with a total amount of 560 million dollars (1) transaction. This scandal has so far remained in Ukraine without consequences, but the topic of scandalous Ukrainian-Iraqi arms contract is clearly not closed. So, in October, 2012, it became known that the concern "Ukroboronprom" faces trial for failure to pay the American intermediary commission fee when executing contracts for the supply of weapons to Iraq (2).
And in early November, 2012, the scandal surrounding the supply of weapons to Iraq, has already broken out with the participation of Russia. As reported by the media, the Iraqi authorities allegedly canceled a deal with Russia for the purchase of weapons worth 4,2 billion dollars. It was about the delivery of X-NUMX cannon-missile anti-aircraft systems "Pantsir-42" and X-NUMX helicopters MI-1HE (30). A representative of the Iraqi government, Ali Mousavi, informed the AFP news agency about its cancellation. Later information with reference to a “high-ranking military source” was confirmed by the Iraqi news agency INA. According to AFP, Baghdad had some suspicions of corruption on the Russian side. “The deal has been canceled. When Iranian Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki returned from Russia, he had some suspicions of corruption, so he decided to review the entire deal. The case is under investigation, ”a spokesman for the Iraqi head of government, Mousavi, said. At the same time, the official did not specify who the investigation was supposedly about.
However, very soon the head of the Iraqi Defense Ministry, Saadun al-Dulaimi, denied this information. According to his statement, the contract for the supply of Russian weapons to Iraq remains in force, and the talk about the “corruption component” was caused only by the fact that the Iraqi government was just late in providing information about the deal to the country's anti-corruption committee (4). True, the Iraqi government further stated that it would re-discuss the terms of the arms purchase deal from Russia, and for this purpose a whole committee (5) was formed as part of the Iraqi National Security Council.
Although this Russian-Iraqi scandal so far has no continuation, the “Ukrainian” component immediately appeared in it, which today has not disappeared. Namely, this will of the media история immediately turned into a supposedly taking place picture of the “arms confrontation” of Ukraine and Russia - they say, unable to properly enforce contracts with Baghdad, Kiev puts poles in Moscow, which is ready to work better with Iraqi partners (6). The meaning of these statements is that, with the support of the United States, Ukraine allegedly seeks to smash a very promising buyer from Russia, which in the near future promises close cooperation with billions of dollars worth more than even the current impressive $ 4,2 billion.
According to this version, under pressure from Washington, there were forces in the Iraqi government that are trying under various pretexts to block Iraq’s military-technical cooperation with Russia and expand it with Ukraine. This seems to be a very vivid example of the most notorious confrontation between Kiev and Moscow in the arms market, which some experts so often like to talk about.
We have to admit that competition between the Ukrainian and Russian "defense" in the arms market takes place. But only in rare third-party tenders in an open and fair fight, when both countries present their similar products. Therefore, Iraq in this case cannot be an example of such a confrontation, by definition.
In particular, it is worth remembering what kind of equipment Ukraine supplies to Iraq, and which Russia plans to supply. And we agree that Ukrainian transport aircraft An-32, which are designed exclusively for the transport of goods and personnel, can in no way compete with Russian attack helicopters Mi-28, designed to search for and destroy armored vehicles, as well as low-speed air targets. and enemy manpower. These are machines of completely different types and different purposes, and they cannot replace each other under any circumstances or anyone’s wishes.
Similarly, the Ukrainian BTR-4 armored personnel carriers, designed to deliver personnel of motorized infantry / mechanized / motorized rifle units to the battlefield and supported by machine-gun fire, cannot be compared with the Russian “Pantsir-1C” anti-aircraft gun systems designed to cover at near approaches strategically important military and industrial facilities. True, this complex, capable of combating a wide range of air attack weapons, including tactical aircraft aviation, helicopters, ballistic and cruise missiles and guided aerial bombs, can also destroy ground lightly armored targets and enemy manpower. But for transporting personnel, it certainly can not be used. It's like hammering nails with a golden hammer.
As for the prospects, according to expert estimates, Russia has opportunities to increase exports to Iraq and other weapons - first of all, according to the nomenclature of the Mi-17 type helicopter and its maintenance, as well as MiG-29М / МNNXX fighters. In both cases, Ukraine is not a competitor to the Russian "defense industry". Moreover: speaking now about the creation of, for example, Ukrainian helicopter technology, the developers initially claim that they are striving to occupy a niche in which Russian manufacturers (2-5,5 tons) do not work, just to avoid unnecessary competition (6). By the way, the same Russian helicopters Mi-7 mentioned today are equipped with TV17-3ВМ and TV117-3ВМ-117 engines manufactured by Motor Sich JSC. It means that Ukrainian manufacturers in this case are vitally interested in developing partnerships in the arms business with Russia and Iraq.
By the way, in terms of developing military transport aviation that Iraq needs (like many other countries in the region), both countries — Russia and Ukraine — also work closely together. And at the end of September 2012, another project joined the well-known Ukrainian-Russian An-70: the aircraft manufacturers of Ukraine and Russia said that the Aviakor plant (Samara) and the Antonov state-owned enterprise (Kiev) would expand the model range of the family An-140 aircraft, including the development of a transport ramp version. According to both sides, this new aircraft should be in great demand in the world.
Thus, all the talk about any confrontation between Ukraine and Russia in the Iraqi arms market has no basis. On the contrary, it is Iraq that can become a vivid illustration of the fact that Kiev and Moscow, even when supplying arms to one consumer, can avoid competition by occupying their “niches”, and the successful implementation of a contract by one country can be beneficial for another.