A dear guest – the President of France is expected in Kiev Emmanuel Macron… Expensive in every sense, because during the upcoming official visit of the main inhabitant of Paris to Ukraine, this country may acquire the largest arms contract in its entire short history, totaling at least 1.5 billion euros. Naturally – in debt, since the “independent” economy will not be able to pull anything like this on its own.
According to the Paris sites Zone Militaire and Intelligence Online, Macron intends to reach an agreement with his colleague Vladimir Zelensky on the rearmament of the remnants of the Ukrainian military aviation on the main French multifunctional fighter Dassault Rafale. And so to bypass the Americans on the bend, who have already almost agreed with the Kiev generals that in the near future the Powers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine will begin to master not just any, but state-owned F / A-18 Super Hornet fighters. Then the money will flow, naturally, exclusively to Washington.
Apparently, the bulldog battle under the carpet between NATO allies is already fierce. And it is hardly accidental that Macron’s visit to Kiev, which had recently been scheduled for the end of March, was postponed indefinitely. Now, both in Paris and Kiev, the timing of the trip is much more vague: Macron, they say, will visit Zelensky “in the first half of this year.” Because it is absolutely certain that not only the United States, but even the leadership of the Powers’ Forces, is not at all happy about the possible acquisition of French “Shkvalov” (this is how the word Rafale is translated into Russian).
What follows, at least from the very recent (March 11, 2021) speech of the commander of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Sergey Drozdov at a meeting of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence. Recognizing that in the coming decades all the MiG-29, Su-27, Su-24M, Su-25, Su-24MR, which were in his subordination and manufactured in the USSR, will be decommissioned, Drozdov called to the parliamentarians those multifunctional machines of “4 ++ generations” which he would like to see at his airfields as a replacement. At the same time, the Colonel General mentioned only two options acceptable from his point of view – if not the American F / A-18 Super Hornet, then at least their own F-15EX. And the Swedish Saab Gripen.
Later, by 2035, if their “power” has “pennies”, the Ukrainian command is dreaming of transferring its pilots to American fifth-generation fighters of the F-35 type. And to equip at least four brigades of tactical aviation with them. In total, Ukraine plans to spend up to $ 12 billion on the implementation of this ambitious plan in the next 15 years. Which, of course, no one dares to suggest – where would they come from. But at least you can dream?
But we will highlight for ourselves the main thing for today: as you can see from the speech of General Drozdov, three weeks ago there was no talk of any Rafale in Kiev. And suddenly the “squalls” jumped out, literally like devils from a Parisian snuffbox. Little of. “The French President believes in Rafale’s chances of winning in this former bastion of Russian industry. Paris has (over the Americans – “JV”) one advantage: its commercial system, capable of supporting such a contract, already exists, ”writes Intelligence Online.
What are we talking about? Absolutely: that in recent years the French have more than once bypassed their allies, but at the same time competitors in the Ukrainian arms market.
So, on November 19, 2019 in Paris, a framework agreement was signed on the supply to the State Border Service of Ukraine of 20 patrol boats of the OCEA FPB 98 Mk I project (including the construction of five of them with French assistance in Ukraine). The total amount of the agreement is 136.5 million euros. Of which 85% is covered by financing from credit funds (51% is provided on credit by a pool of French commercial banks under the guarantees of the French government), and 34% is in the form of a loan from the Treasury of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of France. Ukraine pledged to pay only the remaining 15% from its own funds. In the summer of last year, the first “Ukrainian” boat with a French pedigree was laid down at the Nibulon shipyard (until 2000 – the Chernomorsky shipbuilding plant) in Nikolaev.
The second major victory of Paris in Ukraine was the agreement signed in May 2018 for the supply of 55 helicopters manufactured by Airbus Helicopters to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of this country (light H125 and H145, as well as heavy H225).
Moreover, if the first two models of helicopters will be from the number of new machines, then in relation to heavy helicopters H225 they cannot boast of this. Because France itself decided to decommission all such machines after the accident in the North Sea that happened on April 29, 2016. Then, the detachment of the H225 main rotor, which turned out to be extremely unreliable, near the Norwegian coast led to the death of 13 people. But what to do with the helicopters that are now unnecessary for Paris? Just then, due to extreme poverty, Ukraine, ready for any national humiliation, turned up. True, she got the decommissioned H225 at bargain prices. Which, of course, did not make their rotors more reliable. But, as usual, they don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
What unites the two previously mentioned Ukrainian-French arms contracts? The same official is behind both – the very influential Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Kiev. Arsen Avakov… Intelligence Online believes it is also pushing the Rafale fighter deal today. According to the newspaper, Avakov’s close commercial partner, “a French-Georgian businessman Georgy Tsnobiladze… Through which, as it turns out now, those French patrol boats and helicopters were purchased for the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.
Although this purchase, as already mentioned, is unlikely to take place without desperate resistance from the command of the Armed Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Why will the Ukrainian military pilots run from Macron’s “Shkvalov” like the devil from incense? Because, in fact, if Avakov wins again, they will not receive a real increase in combat power in the air, but from a dead French donkey’s ears.
The thing is that in the world market of multifunctional fighters, it is Rafale that is reputed to be terribly expensive and the most capricious in operation among combat vehicles of this class. To understand exactly what amounts can be discussed, it is worth remembering that just a couple of months ago, on January 25, 2021, Greece signed an agreement with Paris on the purchase of 18 such aircraft (of which 12 were used), weapon systems for them, as well as logistics systems.
So, for everything – about all the Greeks will pay the French $ 2.8 billion. In other words, twice as much as Macron has now ordered to reserve for Ukraine. Already now it is absolutely certain that Kiev will not be able to significantly increase the borrowed amount from its own pocket. Just nothing. Since in the defense budget for the rearmament of the entire Ukrainian army, their authorities promise their military (not the fact that they will keep their word!) About 0.8 billion dollars, insignificant for such a thing. This is for all types and types of troops, of which, due to the ongoing war in the Donbass, infantry, artillery and rocket troops are in clear priority!
This means that the French themselves will give Kiev to buy their Rafale, so they will have to pay with them. What does it mean? Only one thing – that Kiev is capable of receiving Rafale fighters, at least half as much as Athens. That is, a maximum of one squadron is almost certainly not the newest combat aircraft. What a rearmament of four brigades of tactical aviation there is! Here it would be enough to at least occasionally please the eyes of the “giant” with the roar of aircraft engines at military parades.
Let’s take into account one more important detail. The cost of one flight hour of Rafale is on average 16.5 thousand dollars. For comparison: the same figure for the Swedish JAS 39 Gripen – 4.7 thousand dollars. The American F-16 has 7 thousand dollars. It turns out that only a fairly rich country can afford to fly on such a country, to which no one in the world rightly refers Ukraine today.
By the way, at one time, the same French combat vehicles set out to buy and also not too wealthy Brazil. There immediately broke out a scandal. The military blamed their then president Jose Alfreda de Paulo Silva selling to the French at the same time and their own national interests. The Air Force of this country said that they would prefer the Swedish Gripen, which is both cheaper and easier to maintain and operate. As a result, the Brazilians have an impressive Gripen group worth as much as 4.5 billion dollars. But Rafale – not a single one.
But in Ukraine, of course, the political alignment is different. There you will not surprise anyone with accusations of trading in national interests for a long time. Moreover, you will not intimidate anyone. And if there is a war with Russia – who is responsible for the clear skies over their country? To Colonel-General Drozdov, who else? Who is hunting a lamp-bearing ass – yes to the dock?
That is why, I am sure, against the greedy, but omnipotent in Kiev Avakov, with nationalist gangs behind their backs, the military pilots of Ukraine will fight to the last. But it is not a fact that they will win. And from 2025, according to the calculations of the Powers themselves, the long-delayed, but inevitable, like an avalanche in the mountains, will begin a landslide write-off of their aircraft fleet. Since that time, a rare “bird” with a “trident” on the fuselage will fly to the middle of the Dnieper. Due to the almost complete of them, these “birds”, the lack of the Powers of Ukraine. Though Kiev buy Rafale, at least refuse them.
So stock up on popcorn and make yourself comfortable. Our neighbors will definitely not be bored.