Defense ministry has questions to chemical composition of European armor steel successfully used by Ukraine's Armed Forces
The defense sector expects that authorized public bodies will manage to clear the situation with the reasons of the refusal to take into operation new BTR-4 armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) by the Ukrainian Armed Forces made at the production facilities of the Ukroboronprom State Concern from European steel of NATO standard ARMSTAL-500 and paid attention to the fact that the armored vehicles made from this steel is being successfully used by the Armed Forces.
"As far as I know, military acceptance inspection department requires confirmation of the chemical composition of foreign armor, from which they are going to melt corps for the BTR-4 APC under the public defense procurement. In particular, this concerns Finnish MiiLux Protection armor. According to the military department, it does not meet the requirements of the design documentation," Director of Defence Express news and consulting company Serhiy Zgurets, whose estimates were given on Thursday, May 30, on the website of the publication, said.
The expert considers the situation with turmoil around the procurement of European armor by the defense-industrial complex endangered by the disruption of the public defense procurement as "extraordinary."
In this regard, Zgurets said that the developer of the design documentation of the Morozov Design Bureau in Kharkiv allows for the manufacture of the BTR-4 and BTR-3 hulls four types of armor: the Ukrainian 71 armor, produced by Lozova Forging-Mechanical Plant, a member of the industrial group UPEC, and PJSC Metinvest, as well as its foreign analogs.
"There are three such analogs – Polish, Belgian and the already mentioned Finnish MiiLux Protection 500," he said, emphasizing that the quality of European armor purchased by the national defense industry complex is confirmed by appropriate certificates.
The expert said that according to the Finnish company, Miilux 500 armor is used in more than 40 countries for the production of military equipment and complies with the NATO standard Stanag L1 - L5. At the same time, in Ukraine today hulls of Kozak armored vehicles manufactured by PrJSC Practika are manufactured from it, and in 2014, at Lozova Forging-Mechanical Plant's facilities, 14 BTR-4 hulls were produced from the European armor "as an experiment", successfully previously tested and operated today in the Armed Forces, he said.
Zgurets also recalled that Lozova Forging-Mechanical Plant, producing corps from 71 armor and burdened today, including with staff problems, consistently disrupts the execution of the public defense procurement for the supply of the BTR-4 APCs to the Armed Forces.
"Of the dozens of hulls ordered, in 2018 only some of them were delivered to the Armed Forces. The same picture for the past period of 2019," he said.
For PJSC Metinvest, in his words, "with enormous smelting work for civilian purposes, production of armor for armored vehicles is of little interest." Meanwhile, numerous questions have appeared in relation to the armored vehicles made from Ukrainian 71 armor during its operation in the Armed Forces, which were confirmed by multiple complaints of the public customer, Zgurets said.
As the director of Defence Express said, the situation with the public defense procurement forced Ukroboronprom to take over the production of hulls for APCs from foreign armor, for which new facilities were created at Zhytomyr Armor Plant, Morozov Design Bureau and the Malyshev plant.
According to him, "now is the time to ask ourselves the question – how did we get to such a life, and why do some like 71 armor very much, while others say that it is heavy, expensive and it is risky to make armored vehicles out of it."
The expert did not rule out that "the foreign armor initiative was paused until the final clarification of the relationship between the Ministry of Defense and the enterprises of Ukroboronprom."