Ukraine has assured Pakistan that political turmoil will not prevent it from fulfilling contracts for defense purchases, which may include engines for Al-Khalid tanks. (Asif Hassan / AFP)
ISLAMABAD — Ukraine moved to reassure Pakistan that contracts for defense equipment will be honored despite the fallout stemming from its political instability and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Ukraine’s ambassador to Pakistan, H.E. Volodymyr Rakomov, stressed this in a meeting here today with Pakistani Minister for Defence Production Tanveer Hussain.
According to an official Pakistani press release, Hussain raised concerns with Rakomov over the non-delivery of defense products ordered from Ukraine. The ambassador assured Hussain the contracts would be honored despite what was described as propaganda by states hostile to Ukraine.
“All factories are in full swing and there are no problems of legitimacy in Ukraine as portrayed,” he said.
He added, “All our factories and defense production industries are safe with no penetration of any sort.”
He further assured Hussain that any delays were caused by production issues themselves, not external factors.
Just what Pakistan has ordered is unknown, but former Australian defense attache to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, said the items are tank engines.
“Just the engines, so far as I can determine, but I don’t know for how many the contract might be for,” he said.
“The [Al-Khalid II] is also using the Ukrainian engine.”
The Al-Khalid II is the latest development of the indigenous Al-Khalid main battle tank that features a number of design alterations, but is still powered by the Ukrainian 1,200 hp KMDB 6TD-2 six-cylinder diesel. A 1,500 hp engine is planned.
The Ukrainian Varta tank protection system is also an option for the Al-Khalid II.
Ukraine has secured multiple orders for KMDB 6TD-2 tank engines to power the its Al-Khalid series and T-80UD tanks.
Ukraine continues to push its products for sale to Pakistan, but with limited success in recent years as most of the large orders occurred over a decade ago.
The Al-Zarrar upgrade package for the Chinese- supplied Type-59 tank was designed by Ukrainian engineers.
However, the most lucrative Ukrainian order secured from Pakistan has been for 320 T-80UD tanks in the 1990s.
Asked what else Pakistan may require from Ukraine, analyst Usman Shabbir of the Pakistan Military consortium think tank said Ukraine’s best chances may still lie in more tanks or tank subsystems.
“Other than the tank engines, perhaps their assistance in tank design and upgrades,” he said.
There has also been speculation of acquiring equipment for the Air Force, he said.
“[The Ukrainians] are also making and marketing some air-to-air missiles and in the past I have heard of speculation of the [Air Force] buying some from them,” he said. ■