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Friday, March 23, 2018

Ukrainian “Dream” flies to China

Ukraine continues to sell off the Soviet legacy. In line was a right of ownership, drawings and documents on the world’s largest aircraft An-225 “Mriya”. Chinese media and the Ukrainian aviakontserna “Antonov” announced a different version of the signed agreement. What he wants from this deal, and Kiev, and why this unique need this plane to China?

The Chinese company China Airspace and the Ukrainian state enterprise “Antonov” on the eve signed a cooperation agreement, according to which China obtains the rights of ownership of the giant transport plane the An-225, including the use of drawings and specifications of the aircraft, reported China Central television (CCTV) on its Russian-language page on Facebook.

“In fact, Airspace Industry Corporation of China is Hong Kong’s import-export company seated in one office, and nothing is made, of course, she can’t”

Negotiations on attracting Chinese investors was carried out in may 2016. After signing the contract with Ukrainian company of China gained access to unique technologies in the field of aviation. It is planned that the first Chinese An-225 will be released in the first half of 2019″, – stated in the message.

“An-225 “Mriya” (translated from Ukrainian – “Dream”) is the largest aircraft ever to fly. The an-225 was designed as an air transport system for the project of the Soviet reusable space Shuttle “Buran”. The plane exists in a single copy”, says CCTV.

The first aircraft “Mriya” was built for the delivery of the “Buran” at the cosmodrome in 1988, but after the USSR collapse the liner and remained in Ukraine together with the drawings and documents.

Chinese edition Sina.com indicates that a solid agreement is actually yet to be signed. In addition, it clarifies that under the agreement, Chinese group will receive from the Ukrainian rights not only to property the An-225 and all the drawings, but also on motors for this plane.

However, it is possible that it is still not about selling the engine technology, owned by another Ukrainian company “Motor Sich”. Probably, the parties agreed on engines only to cooperate. Head Of Avia.<url>” Roman Gusarov believes it is logical. “China has no such engines. Ukraine could make the engines for “Mriya” and thereby to earn some money on their manufacturing and supply to China,” he says.

Also, according to the local newspaper, the Chinese are planning to build on its territory of two production sites for production of the An-225, one in Luzhou in Sichuan province, the second in Guwange, 300 km West of Guangzhou. These plants, as stated, will produce the most modern manufacturing base for the aircraft. And release China’s first An-225 really planned in the first half of 2019, as reported by the Chinese edition with reference to words of the President of the Chinese company.

At the Ukrainian enterprise “Antonov” has confirmed the fact of cooperation under the program of the An-225 with the Chinese and also by posting information on Facebook. There is indicated the name of the Chinese company, which signed the document: Aerospace Industry Corporation of China (AICC).

But the interesting thing is that the Ukrainian enterprise has provided a completely different format arrangements. “The parties expressed their intentions in long-term cooperation, which stipulates in the first stage, building a second updated copy of the aircraft An-225 “Mriya” “Antonov”, his delivery of the company’s AICC and the creation of the second phase of the joint serial production of An-225 in China under license from Antonov. Both stages will be implemented under the terms of individual contracts”, – reported in the Ukrainian enterprise.

It turns out that in China believe that steel is the sole owner of the unique technologies and are already preparing the site for production. While in Kiev think that the second plane “Mriya” will be assembled in Ukraine on Chinese money and then transferred to China. And then someday will be signed another agreement on the establishment of production in China, in cooperation with Ukraine.

There are doubts whether the place of transaction is really hard whether it’s agreement or just a Memorandum of intent with no legal force, with whom the Ukrainians signed some papers. Because the Internet data about the Chinese company, China Airspace Industry Group, which they say in “Antonov”, no. In China, there are China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is a state Corporation in the field of space and Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) is a giant Corporation, which specializiruetsya on the production of aircraft.

Sinologist Vasily Kashin believes that the news about “Mriya” is the truth only half. First, he points out, a certain Chinese company called Airspace Industry Corporation of China is actually Hong Kong. “The name is clearly done with the aim to mimic in the eyes of the public under the Aviation Industry Corporation of China, the Chinese aviation industry AVIC monopoly,” he says.

He also pointed out that Chinese media reports on signing only a framework agreement that determines the traits of cooperation, but requires the signing of a binding contract. Speech in the document goes about creating in Luzhou industrial base for the production of aircraft An-225 in 2019.

Experts believe that to create a new plane “Mriya” for the remaining three years is simply impossible. “The plane, produced in a single copy in 1988 for re-launch in production is necessary, essentially, to be designed anew – the lost industrial cooperation, has removed many of the then existing suppliers, etc. Is a gigantic task even for the present aviation industry Corporation AVIC type, and its solution will require many years of work. As for the Airspace Industry Corporation of China, this Hong Kong import-export company seated in the same office in the Hong Kong office building, and there is nothing to make, of course, she can not”, – believes Vasily Kashin.

Agree with him and Roman Gusarov from Avia.<url>. “More than sure that in 2019 Mriya will not be built. Cycle of production of even such aircraft as the Il-86, and it is much lighter and easier to produce than “Ruslan” or “Mriya”, is two years from the date of manufacture of the first parts to Assembly of complete aircraft. The production cycle of “Mriya” will be a few years more, especially where such aircraft never built, experts on it there is no production yet. Only for the production need a year or two,” says Roman Gusarov.

“Besides, I don’t think Antonov has spent time and money on digitizing documentation for “Mriya”. Most likely, the documentation and drawings are transferred to paper, and they were made in Soviet times. The Chinese will need to digitize and translate documents, and it is a long process,” adds Gusarov.

“What we have in the dry residue? China through the Hong Kong import and export gasket, apparently, acquired a set of design documentation for the An-225. Apparently, to legalize this transaction and signed a non-binding obviously unrealistic framework agreement on construction of production bases,” explains Kashin.

Why China buys the rights, drawings and documents of “Mriya”? The reasons can be several. First, China really wants to create a larger than their combined Y-20 transport aircraft under the name “dream” or on the basis of technological developments in the Ukraine – private. However, experts doubt that.

Mriya was originally created in the interests of the Soviet space program to transport “Buran”, and for the commercial transport of such a large aircraft is not needed, said Kashin. “This is a specific, niche product. The range of problems that it solves is so small. Civilian use it is, in fact, not. Even freighters with more modest dimensions in the world operate a total of 20 pieces. “Mriya” not every airport can take” – I agree Gusarov. Now the only Antonov an-225, which exploits the Ukraine, performs exclusive orders from around the world to transport large and heavy loads that we need to get in the far distance.

“Mriya” can be useful to China soon for more strategic tasks. It is possible to transfer weapons or to convert aircraft for the missile. For the Ministry of defence of the China open vast horizon,” – says Roman Gusarov.

Maybe China wants to use the “Dream” for his powerful new space program with the air start, does not exclude the Cashin. Finally, Beijing can buy technology simply because now it can be done for little money, and how best to use the documents – will come up later. “I think that China this purchase was not inexpensive. Even if China will not be able to effectively make use of this documentation, a lot of money he will lose,” says Gusarov.

It is not excluded that this transaction will end eventually because some still relevant technology of the Soviet Union will departure to China, someone to earn some money, but the second the plane “Mriya” never rises into the air.

“At the time after the “orange revolution” in Ukraine, flirting with the West, handed over the documentation for the plane An-70, the design of which Russia has invested a large portion of Europeans. In the end the Europeans did its counterpart, which as two peas similar to Ukrainian. Most likely, it also was a kind of deal”, says Gusarov.

“Ukraine has no other chance though as-that to earn on this plane, but to sell to the Chinese. The plane in Ukraine has never been built. “Ruslan” was built in Ulyanovka, and “Ruslan” is the basic plane for the “Mriya”. Ukraine has neither the technology nor production capacities for the construction of such aircraft,” – said Gusarov. Not to mention the fact that in Kiev there is 3-4 billion dollars on it. But just as many were estimated investment in the construction of second An-225 in the Antonov ” in may of this year.

Actually, the chief designer of the An-225 “Mriya” Anatoly vovnyanko in his memoirs, says exactly the same: the media messages they found a customer and that Antonov will build a second An-225. “It’s all a lie. There is no customer, and no one has to build the second aircraft, given the collapse of aircraft industry of Ukraine”, – writes vovnyanko.

“On the territory of Ukraine to make this production impossible. This plane was done in the Soviet time when deep cooperation with Russian enterprises, suppliers were mostly from the Russian Federation. This is a complex and time-consuming process. There need not even one plant. One plant will only be for the final Assembly. Many more factories will have to produce the chassis, control system and many other components,” says Gusarov.

Theoretically, China could seek the cooperation of Russia, but it will change little. Many business-partners in Russia also withdrew from the production details, even for “Ruslan”, because they are the decades in order, to say nothing of Mriya’s 1988 release.

Ukraine has long been engaged in the sale potential of the Soviet past, which now does not like. The well-known story, how in 90-e years, Ukraine sold China the heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser “Kiev” officially – for the creation of the Museum. In fact it turned into a tourist complex with luxury hotels and excursions.

Also in the 90s, a Chinese businessman bought from Ukraine unfinished aircraft carrier “Varyag”, founded and partly built in Nikolayev in Soviet times. The Chinese promised that he needed this ship solely for entertainment purposes, to build it casino, pub and hotels. In the end, someone in Ukraine received millions of dollars, and have appeared in China first aircraft carrier “Liaoning” (or “Shi LAN”).

Last year, Kiev has announced plans to sell an unfinished missile cruiser “Ukraine”, where about 80% of the weapons produced in Russia, and the ship itself was designed for the samples of navigation equipment and small arms which in Ukraine is not performed. However, the buyer has not been found yet.

Finally, a few years ago, Ukraine was one of the ten largest global exporters of arms and weapons, which also should thank the Soviet Union. Hundreds of millions of dollars Kiev has rescued over the years at the sale remaining after the dissolution of the Union arms at its warehouses, the production of which she had not invested a single penny.


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