AUSA 2017: Ukraine shows military might via US partnerships
The Ukrainian defence industry has grown in strength since Russia's invasion in 2014, military and industry officials noted at an AUSA 2017 press conference in Washington DC.
During 1991 to 2014 more than 50% of Ukrainian military equipment was supplied by Russia, according to Ukraine's state-run Ukroboronprom. However, further to recent events the country has experienced many new business opportunities in the face of aggression, officials commented.
Ukroboronprom is utilising its time at the AUSA exhibition to develop new opportunities with US companies.
'Right now we are working on cooperation with neighbouring countries and western partners,’ one official commented with regards to military developments
Further to the eradication of Russian partnerships in the defence industry, Ukraine is working closely with numerous companies in the US including Aeroscraft in relation to integrated surveillance systems and Honeywell is supplying avionics for aircraft.
Discussions have taken place regarding Ukraine producing a version of the NATO standard M16 rifle in Ukraine, Ukroboronprom announced on 3 January 2017.
The first project under the memorandum of cooperation will be the M16 automatic rifle model WAC47 for the Ukrainian Army. The transition to international NATO standards is a part of the reform and development of Ukraine’s domestic defence industry.
For a country that has had to rebuild its military equipment almost tabula rasa post-Russian invasion, Ukroboronprom stated that Ukraine is now rated number nine within the armed forces of Europe, according to figures supplied by Global Firepower.
‘For more than four years we have been trying to defend against our strong neighbour and defend our territory… In 2014 we had a weak army but this year we have been ranked in the top  of the most powerful armed forces in the world,’ commented a senior Ukrainian army official.
While it is recognised that the country still has a way to go in relation to bolstering its military strength, the official noted that ‘the main goal is to save the soldier’s life and the only way to do this is to [continue to] upgrade and modernise our military’.
The Ukrainian Army currently has 15,903 units of weapons and military equipment this comprise of 5,281 pieces of new and modernised weapons et al and 7,164 pieces of repaired and upgraded equipment.