LIMA 2017: Ukraine looks to boost presence in Thailand and Malaysian

Ukraine’s state-owned defence holding company Ukroboronprom is looking to boost its presence in the Malaysian and Thai defence markets through government-level commitments to support the growth of the two Southeast Asian country’s respective defence industries.

Ukraine and Malaysia proposed a joint commission on military technical co-operation in late 2016, Pavlo Bukin, the CEO of Ukrspecexport – Ukraine’s military import/export body, confirmed to Jane’s at the 2017 Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia on 21 March.

Although the commission is yet to be formally established, the forum is intended to facilitate industrial collaboration between the two sides based on Ukrainian defence sales to Malaysia followed by technology transfers and potential localised production, he said. Potential programmes include Ukrainian sales of multipurpose patrol craft and a maritime patrol version of the Antonov An-148 aircraft.

He added that the committee is supported by government officials at the highest levels. “When the president of Ukraine [Petro Poroshenko] attended a state visit to Malaysia [in August 2016] we discussed prospects for collaboration on several platforms,” he said. “We are continuing in discussions but we don’t yet have any contracts. The competition is very fierce here.”

In Thailand, Ukrspecexport is moving closer to securing an agreement with the Royal Thai Army (RTA) to establish a local facility to build and support Ukrainian military vehicles including the 8×8 BTR-3E1 armoured personnel carrier (APC), confirmed Bukin.

The facility would build vehicles to meet RTA requirements and export to regional customers. It would also provide support for the BTR-3E1s already in operation by the RTA. The RTA ordered in 2008 and 2011 more than 220 BTR-3E1s. Bukin confirmed that deliveries of all these BTR-3E1s were completed in 2016, and that Ukrspecexport is also bidding for a contract in Thailand to supply its BTR-4 8×8 APC.

In addition, Ukrspecexport sees opportunities to expand sales to Thailand of Ukraine’s BM Oplot main battle tanks.