Ukrainian rocket manufacturer Pivdenmash denies link to N. Korean nuclear program
The Ukrainian state-owned Pivdenmash (Yuzhmash) machine-building plant, Ukraine's leading rocket manufacturer located in the city of Dnipro, has denied allegations published by The New York Times that it may have covertly contributed to North Korea's missile program, describing the report as an attempt to discredit Pivdenmash and Ukraine.
"The speculation by the reports' authors and the 'expert' quoted by them concerning Ukraine's possible role in the DPRK's progress in developing its missile technology has nothing in common with reality: Pivdenmash has never had and does not have any relation to North Korea's space or defense rocket programs. As a state enterprise, Pivdenmash fully complies with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), in which Ukraine has participated since 1998," Pivdenmash said in an official statement shared with Interfax-Ukraine on Monday.
"Pivdenmash has not manufactured and is not manufacturing military missiles or missile systems in the years of [Ukraine's] independence. The only serial engine that has been exported in the past several years - the RD-843 shipped to Italy for the European launch vehicle Vega - is designed to operate in outer space, and its features, including its thrust, makes it unsuitable for use in military ballistic missiles," it said.
"The information presented in the report is not consistent with reality: in particular, not only is Pivdenmash not a primary producer of missiles for Russia, but it also does not supply Russia with any missiles or its components or elements, including rocket engines," it said.
Pivdenmash said that, while it regretted the report, "provocative in its nature and based on an incompetent expert opinion," it said that "the position of a number of Ukrainian media outlets is also disappointing, in that they allowed the circulation of fantasies discrediting Pivdenmash and Ukraine without attempts to verify this information directly with the enterprise."
The New York Times reported on Monday with reference to conclusions by a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies that the Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile launched by the DPRK in July may have been powered by an engine designed on the basis of the RD-250, which was developed for Soviet ICBMs in the 1960s.
The report names Pivdenmash, which The New York Times describes as "one of Russia's primary producers of missiles even after Ukraine gained independence," as the most likely supplier of technology for building the engine for the North Korean missile.
Pivdenmash is a key enterprise of Ukraine's space rocket industry, which manufactures launch vehicles and civil, research and military satellites.