Ukrainian engine manufacturer Motor Sich has won an order to provide components for 30 AI-450T turboprop engines used on Turkey’s advanced Akinci strike drone.
According to ProZorro, the government’s open-source procurement site, the order, worth 193.54 million hryvnias ($7.4 million) was placed by the Ivchenko-Progress firm, part of Ukroboronprom, an association of enterprises in various sectors of the defence industry.
An initial payment covering 40 percent of the contract is to be made later this month.
According to aviation magazine Krilya, these engines are used on the Bayraktar Akinci advanced strike drone.
Ukraine last month began using a less advanced version of the Bayraktar drone, the TB2, in its seven-year-old conflict with Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine which has killed more than 13,000 people.
Video accounts of fighting in the region occupied by the proxies said the Bayraktar TB2 had proved effective in knocking out the enemy artillery that fired on the village of Granitne. It was decided to use the drones to strike from a distance of more than 15 km, to save the lives of civilians and soldiers.
Russia said the use of drones violated the Minsk agreements meant to put an end to the war. France and Germany — both mediators in the conflict – also criticised the strike.
In September, Ukrainian news reports said Turkish company Baykar Defence, manufacturer of the drones, had clinched a cooperation deal with Motor Sich. And Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkey, Vasyl Bondar, said talks were underway to strike a deal on manufacturing drones in Ukraine.
Motor Sich and plane maker Antonov, two of Ukraine’s most prominent business concerns, have signed two contracts this year to maintain and extend the life of aircraft engines. Those contracts applied to D-18T engines used on Ruslan transport aircraft and on the Mriya, the world’s largest operational cargo plane.
Antonov ordered several aircraft engines from Motor Sich earlier this year.
Dispute with Chinese investors
Motor Sich has been the focus of a dispute between Ukraine and China. The company is majority-owned by Chinese investors, but Ukrainian authorities announced plans to nationalise the company, declaring it was safeguarding national security.
China objects to the nationalisation plan and has urged Ukraine to safeguard the “legitimate rights and interests of Chinese investors”. A Ukrainian court seized the assets and all the shares of the company in March.
Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week that Motor Sich was seeking foreign investors, but was quick to point out that the dispute with Chinese investors was a special case and had no relation to the general investment climate in the country.
“Everything that is happening around Motor Sich has nothing to do with the overall investment climate in Ukraine,” Kuleba told a news conference. “Business understands that this is a completely separate case which requires very careful, surgical-like accuracy to balance all the interests involved…”