Ukraine complains of European embargo on armored vehicle engines

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3/12/2015

Engine Hunger: Ukrainian defense industry is short of engines for its vehicles

By Sokol_ff

Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

An interesting analysis of problems associated with
restoring and repairing Ukrainian AFVs, published by AUTO-Consulting.ua.

“Ukrainian defense industries have problems in supplying
engines for BTRs, BRDMs, BMDs, and other military vehicles. They used to be
equipped with Russian-manufactured engines, but for understandable reasons
these deliveries have stopped. Attempts to find alternative suppliers abroad
have likewise failed. According to AUTO-Consulting data, German firms MTU, Mercedes
Benz, and Italian IVECO have all refused to supply engines under various
pretexts. Truck manufacturer AvtoKrAZ encountered similar problems, and is now
forced to look for alternatives to the Russian YaMZ engines. “Engine Hunger”
may threaten not only the manufacture of new AFVs, but also the restoration of
stored AFVs.

Naturally, Russian special services are at fault here too.
But we have predicted an engine shortage problem already a year ago. We
predicted already then that the Russian FSB will undermine engine supplies for
Ukrainian vehicles. Alas, that is exactly what happened.

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Even if engines are supplied, they have to be adapted to the
vehicle, which takes months of engineering work. Then military units have to
learn how to operate and service them, and to establish spare part reserves.
Ukraine has no time for that.

President’s advisor Yuriy Biryukov wrote on his Facebook
page that restoring equipment after 30 years in storage is no simple process:

There are lots of BTR hulls available. BTR-70s, not as many
-80s, a few -60s. However, everything inside is rotten through. Once an BTR
sits in a field for 30 years it turns into a big pile of metal. Even after
tremendous restoration effort, all it can do is drive for 200-300km and die.
Reasons for that are quality of spares, absence of spares, absence of
technology and specialists. All of this equipment is from the ‘60s and ‘70s. It’s
old and dead.

So you want to put a new diesel engine into a BTR-70?! Let’s
do it! But which one? YTD-20? Where to you propose to get them? Are you aware
that the experiment in equipping BTR-70s with UTD-20 engines failed
spectacularly, and now 20 modernized BTR-70s are gathering dust at the 25th
Brigade?

So let’s put an imported engine into a BTR-70! Do it! Buy
some! Overcome the informal embargo, reach an agreement with
IVECO/Mercedes/Deutz. Maybe they won’t tell you to go f*** yourselves…–concludes
Biryukov.

Indeed, Ukraine does not manufacture engines suitable for
AFVs. All storage facilities have been cleared out, all Russian sources of
engines have been cut off. The only thing that’s left is buying imported
engines (but there’s an informal embargo in place), or building own factory to
manufacture licensed engines. But there aren’t all that many engine types
suitable for AFVs. However, luckily many of them are also used in farm
equipment. Incidentally, Ukrainian farm equipment manufacturers also have to
buy engines “on the side.” So maybe the government should create conditions for
establishing domestic engine manufacture that would deal with the shortage of
engines for AFVs, tractors, and possibly also KrAZ? But that would require a
far-seeing state economic policy, instead of playing with exchange rates and
trying to obtain an IMF credit at all costs, only so that it can be returned to
previous creditors.”

J.Hawk’s Comment: The part about the “informal embargo” is
the truly interesting aspect of the piece. Let’s face it, for all the talk
about NATO arming or supplying Ukraine, it hasn’t sent much of anything useful
(Saxon APCs, for example), and when it did (US counter-mortar radars), it
provided them in token quantities. It’s yet another piece of evidence
indicating that the EU, at any rate, does not want to see Ukraine resume
fighting on the Donbass. Biryukov does not mention any US diesel engine
manufacturers, but he also does not say “hey, we forgot about the Americans.”
It would seem that the US is deferring to the EU on the question of rearming
and re-equipping the UAF.  

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