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Generation 4.5 / 4++ Multi-Role Combat [BCV] aircraft

On 15 May 2020, Kyiv adopted the Air Force Vision 2035 plan to modernize its combat aircraft to Western standards. Ukrainian combat aircraft are equipped exclusively with Soviet-era aircraft. Moreover, the fleet has shrunk significantly since Russia's capture of Crimea, as 45 MiG-29s were captured by Russian troops. About thirty combat aircraft were returned to the Ukrainian side, without components that allow them to fly. In addition to the MiG-29, the Ukrainian Air Force had about 30 Su-27 Flanker, 17 Su-24 "Fencer" tactical bombers and several Su-25 "Frogfoot" attack aircraft. Obviously, given the conflict with Russia, this situation was far from ideal, especially since the maintenance of these aircraft is expensive.

This refers to the announcement of tenders for the purchase of Generation 4.5 multi-role fighter (BCV - Bagato-Cilovogo Vynyshhuvacha) combat aircraft to replace in-service aircraft. Thus, the presence of a fighter of the same type would reduce maintenance costs. In particular, the plan provides for investments of about 7.5 billion euros. It should be conducted in two stages: the first is aimed at purchasing 6 to 12 new combat aircraft in the period from 2023 to 2025. This is "in order to begin operational tests and evaluation activities to study the forms and methods of organizing staff training." Then in 2025-2030 Ukraine will talk about the purchase of about thirty more aircraft. In October 2020, the Minister of Strategic Industry of Ukraine Oleh Semenovych Uruskoho stated that no in-depth study has been conducted so far to determine which type of fighter will best meet the needs of the Air Force.

The priority for 2023-2025 in the Air Force Command is to purchase up to 6-12 units of a new type of aircraft to study its characteristics, forms and methods of application, organization of retraining of aviation personnel and improvement of ground infrastructure. A tender will be held in 2021-2022 and a contract will be signed for the purchase of a multi-role fighter, limited supplies of which (total up to 6-12 aircraft) should begin in 2023-2025. "Plus, they decided that they should be replaced by foreign planes. Earlier it was not clearly stated that we need to buy. There were ideas of own production or modernization. And now they have decided that it is necessary to buy a new one, until then to keep in order what is there and not to spend money on unpromising modernization. And all this based on availability of funds." commented on Vision Vision tactical aviation aircraft Armed Forces chief editor of Military Aviation, Denis Tomenchuk.

During the next phase of the Vision implementation, which will take place in 2025-2030, the main measures of retrofitting to a new type of multi-purpose aircraft should take place. The estimated need for resources to re-equip tactical aircraft is about 200 billion hryvnias. "This is a logical and correct step. All experts wrote about it ten years ago. We cannot afford the luxury of maintaining such a variety of types of combat aircraft, as it is burdensome financially and logistically. Combat aviation fleet, consisting of a single universal combat aircraft and to a lesser extent of training and combat aircraft to solve ancillary tasks is a typical approach of most European countries. For example, currently the only country in the world that has a modern tactical bomber is Russia with its Su-34. Re-equipping the Armed Forces with the only type of multifunctional combat aircraft is more realistic from a financial point of view, will simplify the organization of the supply of spare parts and components," said the expert of the Ukrainian military portal Yuriy Zbanatsky.

Local media claimed that the choice could be between the American F-16V or JAS-39 Gripen E/F. But there are other options. It is possible that the Ukrainian tender will lead to competition between Rafale from Dassault Aviation and F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing. The possible sale of Rafale to Ukraine was the main topic of President Macron's visit to Kyiv. The French president believed in Rafale's chances of winning this former stronghold of Russian industry. "Paris has an advantage: its commercial system capable of supporting such a contract already exists," IOL writes. In addition, France can also count on Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's interior minister, who has been in office since 2014. His responsibilities include ordering Kyiv in 2020 for 20 patrol boats at the Ocea shipyard, as well as 55 helicopters. H225 and H125 from Airbus Helicopters. According to IOL, Paris can guarantee a possible contract with Rafale up to 85%. The Ministry of Economy and Finance has already allocated 1.5 billion euros for these purposes.

However, the United States has clearly not said its last word, especially since since 2014 it has provided significant military assistance to Ukraine. But the other 125 million euros will be transferred to Ukraine only if Kyiv "makes sufficient progress in key defense sector reforms." In addition, US President Joe Biden hastened to assure that the United States does not accept and will never accept the so-called annexation of the Crimean peninsula and that they will stand "together with Ukraine against Russia's aggressive actions."

In March 2020 a delegation of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine headed by Colonel-General Serhiy Drozdov visited the Pakistani company PAC for the production of JF-17 Block III fighters. This was reported by Ukrainian Military Pages with reference to the site Defenseworld.net . Visits to the company were assessed as intentions to purchase JF-17 Block III fighters. The 4th generation JF-17 Thunder light multi-role fighter-bomber is a joint development of the Pakistani company PAC (Pakistan Aeronautical Complex) and the Chinese company (CAC) (Chengdu Aircraft Corporation).

The possible sale of Rafale to Ukraine would be at the top of the agency of the next visit that the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron to Ukraine. This information was reported 24 March 2021 by Intelligence Online [IOL], a site specializing in intelligence. “The French president believes in the Rafale's chances of winning in this former bastion of Russian industry. Paris has an advantage: its commercial system capable of supporting such a contract is already in place, ” say IOL agents.

According to IOL, Paris could guarantee a possible Rafale contract up to 85%. An envelope of 1.5 billion euros has already been provided for this purpose by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance. It should be noted that Kyiv has already ordered 20 patrol vessels from the Ocea shipyard in 2020, as well as 55 H225 and H125 helicopters from Airbus Helicopters.

In May 2020, the government adopted the “Air Force Vision 2035” plan to modernize its combat aviation by bringing it up to Western standards. This implies the launch of a call for tenders to acquire a generation 4.5 multirole combat aircraft to replace the aircraft currently in service. Having the same type of fighter would thus make it possible to reduce maintenance costs and pool capacities. In detail, this plan provides for an investment of approximately 7.5 billion euros. It should take place in two phases: the first aims to acquire 6 to 12 new combat aircraft between 2023 and 2025. Then, between 2025-2030, it will be a question of acquiring around thirty additional aircraft.

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Page last modified: 22-04-2023 18:38:02 ZULU