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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Bomber and ASM Elimination

Ukraine inherited a largenuclear arsenal, with 220 strategic weapon carriers, including 176 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) (130 SS-19 and 46 SS-24 missiles) and 44 strategic bombers (19 Tu-160 and 25 Tu-95). In 2001 the last of the Ukrainian Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers were eliminated or converted to nonmilitary use, along with hundreds of air launched cruise missiles (ALCMs). Thirty-eight nuclear capable Tu-22M Backfire bombers were also destroyed, while the remaining 19 Tu-22Ms were eliminated by September 2004.

Ukraine's Defense Ministry asked the United States for assistance in dismantling 38 Tu-160s and Tu-95s and 487 Kh-55 air-launched cruise missiles, signing an agreement in 1997. A December 3, 1997 Record of Discussions signed by Secretary of Defense Cohen and the Ukrainian Minister of Defense states in part "The Secretary of Defense of the United States of America and the Minister of Defense of Ukraine are pleased to announce that the United States and Ukraine intend to develop a plan for the elimination of Tu-160 and Tu-95 aircraft --- and their associated long-range, air-launched, nuclear warhead- carrying cruise missiles."

A November 28, 2000 memorandum from the Director for CTR policy, OSD/S&TR to Director for Cooperative Threat Reduction, DTRA states in part - "I request that DTRA coordinate with appropriate Ukrainian organizations as soon as possible and plan and begin execution of a Tu-22M Backfire Bomber Elimination project in Ukraine not later than the end of FY 01."

The Bomber and ASM Elimination project assisted Ukraine in the elimination of 27 Tu-95 Bear, 11 Tu-160 Blackjack, and 39 Tu-22M Backfire bombers, as well as 483 Kh-55 (AS-15 Kent) and 225 Kh-22 (AS-4 Kitchen) nuclear capable air-to-surface missiles (ASMs) as well as the disposal of associated missile fuels and oxidizers. This project is scheduled for completion in the 4th quarter of FY 04.

The elimination of Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers and Kh-55 ASMs was executed by Raytheon Technical Services Company (RTSC) under CPFF contract DSWA01-98-C-0117. To meet the mandate of OSD Policy to initiate the elimination of Tu-22M Backfire bombers and Kh-22 ASMs in FY 01, the project has been executed in two phases. Phase I, which included the development of equipment removal, elimination, and dismantlement plans and procedures, the centralization of Kh-22 ASMs at Ozernoye, and the dismantlement and elimination of 8 Tu-22M at Priluki and Belaya Tserkov, was executed by modifying the RTSC contract cited above. Phase II of the work was awarded as a task order under the new omnibus CTR IDIQ contract in July 2002. Phase II work includes the elimination of 31 Tu-22M at Poltava and Nikolayev as well as the elimination of 225 Kh-22 ASMs at Ozernoye.

That part of the budget associated with the elimination of the Tu-160 and Tu-95 bombers and Kh-55 ASMs is based on the negotiated value of the completed contract. The budget for the new work associated with the elimination of Tu-22M Backfire bombers and Kh-22 ASMs is based on an the awarded CTRIC task order and analysis of similar work that was carried out to eliminate bombers and ASMs.

In October 2000, Ukraine asked for more funding to dismantle the country's Tu-22M bombers and Kh-22 missiles. By February 2001 a total of 10 Tu-160 and 20 Tu-95 Ukrainian bombers had been eliminated, and one Tu-160 and two Tu-95 aircraft were turned into static displays or converted for laboratory use. Four remaining Tu-95s were dismantled by May 2001, and all work under the disarmament program was completed by December 2001.

The 11 strategic bombers and 600 air-launched missiles exchanged by Ukraine to Russia in payment for the gas debt were transfered in mid-February 2000 [all of which had their nuclear weapons removed by 1996]. Two Tu-160 bombers flew from Priluki in the Ukrainian Chernigov region for the Russian air base in Engels. The missiles were sent to Russia by railroad. Three Tu-95MS bombers and six Tu-160 airplanes had already arrived at Engels since October 1999 in fulfilment of the intergovernmental agreements. Before being moved to Russia, 19 Tu-160 airplanes were stationed at the Priluki airfield and 21 Tu-95MS were located in Uzin.

On 06 November 2002 the first of 225 X-22 airborne cruise missiles was destroyed at a military airfield in the vicinity of Ozerne, Zhytomyr region. By July 2004 Ukraine got rid of these missiles. The almost 12-meter-long missile was cut unto halves, following which its engine muzzle was deformed with a special press. The scrapping procedure was watched by Ukrainian Defense Ministry and US DOD officials.

The X-22 airborne cruise missile is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead, weighing up to 400 kg, or a demolition- cumulative charge to targets 400 km away. As Maj Gen Robert Bonjovie, deputy director of the US Defense Department's Agency for lessening threats, said, such cruise missiles, the Cold War's product, could hit cities in Europe and the USA and the consequences would have been devastating and disastrous. So, scrapping such weapons is a symbol of changes, the establishment of friendly and partnership relations between the countries.

The elimination of Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers and Kh-55 AASMs is complete. Phase I of Tu-22M and Kh-22 elimination work is complete. Because of this experience, the risk associated with remaining Tu-22M bomber and Kh-22 ASM work is medium - mainly due to work at new sites and the elimination of hazardous Kh-22 ASM fuel and oxidizer.

Prior to executing remaining work, DTRA will work with the Ukrainian Air Force and MOD to clearly define the scope of the project and thereby minimize scope changes that will significantly impact cost, schedule or performance. Cost caps have been implemented for some tasks.

In the ongoing project, on occasion Ukraine has failed to release bombers and ASMs to the contractor for dismantlement and elimination in a timely manner. DTRA obtained written assurance from Ukraine that systems will be released in a timely manner before awarding Phase II work. Should Ukraine exhibit uncooperative behavior after contract award, US support will be terminated.

The technical procedures for elimination and dismantlement of Tu-22M bombers and Kh-22 ASMs are essentially the same as those used previously. The method to be used for the elimination of hazardous Kh-22 ASM fuel and oxidizer is still under investigation. A separate contract will be issued for the elimination of hazardous Kh-22 ASM fuel and oxidizer once a proper method is identified.

All Tu-95 and Tu-160 bombers and Kh-55 ASMs provided by MOD were eliminated by May 2001. DoD completed the first phase of Tu-22M bomber elimination by eliminating eight Tu-22M3 aircraft and two Tu-134UBL bomber trainers at Priluki and Belaya Tserkov, and centralizing all the Kh-22 at Ozernoye by the end of May 2002. DoD awarded a contract for the second phase of the Tu-22M bomber elimination project in July 2002 to eliminate Tu-22M bombers at Nikolayev and Poltava as well as the associated Kh-22 ASMs at Ozernoye. DTRA added Tu-142 bomber and strategic bomber trainer elimination work to the project in 2004.

After the fall of the USSR, dozens of the Tu-95 strategic bombers remained on the territory of Ukraine, where they were included in the bombing regiment in Uzin. After Ukraine had become a nuclear-free country, part of the Tu-95 fleet was either destroyed or transported to Russia in order to pay off gas debts. By 2014, at least six Tu-95 remained in Ukraine – three of them in the museums of Kiev, Poltava and Luhansk, and one bomber remained in Uzin. Another two bombers were reequipped in 2000 to serve for “ecological reconnaissance” and as reported, were located at the Nikolaev aircraft repair factory.

One of these two Tu-95 strategic bomber, owned by the Ukrainian Air Force, was put up on eBay auction. Anyone can buy the bomber, equipped to carry a nuclear weapon, for some $3 million. The bomber was built in 1987 and remained undamaged due to few flying hours (454). However, it can’t be piloted without special training. The bomber had signs of the USSR Air Force and Ukrainian Air Force tokens, The Aviationist reports. The Tu-95 MS would be transported to the ports of Odessa or Nikolaev, where a buyer is to receive it. The lot won’t be sold to citizens of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Baltic States, Africa, Central America or Oceania, in addition to several other countries, like Israel and Mexico. The seller was a German-Swiss company that allegedly supplies raw materials from Ukraine. The bomber was put on sale on March 6, 2014 and would last six days.

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Page last modified: 17-04-2014 18:22:51 ZULU