Ukrainian "Antonov": the last steps to complete destruction

In the "nezalezhnoy" situation again aggravated around one of the few, still somewhat working, high-tech enterprises of the country - the aircraft-building company GP Antonov. It came to almost an open revolt of employees of its constituent structures, unsuccessfully trying to "reach out" to the government in their attempts to save what remains of the once-powerful industrial giant with a worldwide reputation and billions in turnover.

However, apparently, the Antonov team does not have to count on a successful outcome. This enterprise, as well as all similar “fragments of the Soviet past” of Ukraine similar to it, most likely expects bankruptcy, collapse and complete destruction. Let's try to figure out why.

Aircraft manufacturers against Ukroboronprom

One of the main claims that the Antonovites who have despaired of finding justice in their official appeals to all the “first persons” of the country — the president, heads of government, parliament and the National Security and Defense Council — is truly harmful, in their opinion, policy, which in relation to the enterprise is consciously and purposefully conducted by the Ukroboronprom concern. Antonov was not lucky to be a part of this association in 2015 and, almost immediately after that, the head of Ukroboronprom Aivaras Abromavicius developed violent activity around Antonov. It’s just that it was not directed at all at saving the more and more degrading enterprise, but at establishing full control over its still “living” assets. One check in the company replaced another, the auditors dug with the tenacity and intensity of the excavators, completing the task to gain enough negativity and dirt on its head, Alexander Donets.

This leader turned out to be “inflexible” and, without showing understanding of the plans of his higher authorities, he began to rest, trying to defend, first of all, the production capacities that Ukroboronprom clearly intended to “merge” and put into liquidation. In the end, Donets was fired “for miscalculations in the leadership”, and in his place Abromavichus planned to put his own “confidant”, a certain Ruslan Korzh, who has a rather dubious attitude to the aircraft industry (for example, in Russia this figure worked for AEROMAR, not involved in the creation of aircraft, but in the supply of food for their passengers). But Korzh has long and very successfully struggled as the "right hand" of the current head of Ukroboronprom.

The situation with the aviation direction in the concern, which, on the basis of the name, has the main responsibility for strengthening the “non-down” defense, is best demonstrated by the glaring story that recently happened at the Lviv State Aviation Repair Plant that is part of it. One of the elderly MiG-29 fighters of the Ukrainian Air Force was sent there in February this year to "upgrade to the level of the MiG-29MU1." It did not happen categorically with the modernization, and first of all for the reason that the combat vehicle that arrived at the plant was instantly pulled almost a screw! Moreover, when the disappearance of the most important blocks of the fighter was revealed and an investigation was launched, it turned out that the marauders had already managed to get to other planes awaiting repair. Even the fact that the winged vehicles stood on the territory of the military commandant’s office located next to the factory did not save from theft.

The scandal erupted, and some details of the MiG-29 were simply thrown onto the lawn in front of the enterprise - away from sin. Be that as it may, but the MiG-29, which fell into the clutches of thieves from Ukroboronprom, is unlikely to fly into the sky in any modification, old or new. This example comprehensively characterizes the “successes” achieved by the management of the concern (and, in particular, Ruslan Korzh, who oversees the aviation and rocket science directions in it) in the matter of “radical transformation” and “getting rid of negative phenomena” of defense enterprises. What international cooperation (the need for which as a saving panacea for the Ukrainian aerospace industry at Ukroboronprom is declared at every step) can be discussed if total corruption among managers reigns, poverty among employees (the average salary of even engineering and technical personnel is approximately 14 thousand hryvnias, that is about 500 dollars) and the general theft caused by it?

There is still something to steal

The most interesting thing is that with all the deplorable state, Antonov is a profitable enterprise, which is rare for today's Ukraine. In 2018, the company managed to earn a billion “clean”, in 2019 - more than 800 million hryvnia. What are these amounts and where did they come from, we will explain in detail a little later, but for now let's get back to the main business of the company - aircraft manufacturing. Everything here is not just bad, but badly critical.

Back in 2016, the company was making very ambitious plans: it was about a dozen An-178 aircraft, which the Chinese Beijing A-Star Science & Technology Co., Ltd was supposedly ready to purchase, and a dozen of the same aircraft for the Azerbaijani airline SilkWay Airlines. Four An-4s and at least one An-148 were to fly to Iraq. Also, preliminary negotiations were held on the creation of more than fifty aircraft for various foreign customers, mainly from the Middle East. Moreover, the company rejoiced at the promises of long-awaited government orders - at least 178 An-3s were claimed by the Ukrainian army, on the purchase of even more aircraft equipment The Ministry of the Interior spoke. However, all this sweet “music” did not play, as the popular song says, for long ...

A year later, it became clear that the vast majority of the “protocols of intent” would remain empty dreams, not even reaching the stage of concluding official contracts. Neither the military nor the police will buy anything - there are no funds (those that are available are spent on the purchase of imported equipment and weapons). Foreign buyers, with the exception of Baku, also all as one, changed their minds. The reason here is extremely simple and just the continuation of the story with SilkWay Airlines, which led to a high-profile international scandal, reveals it.

Short-haul transport aircraft An-178. Photo: Markedonich /

Already in 2018, information “surfaced” in the media that it had not received the millionth (in dollars) advance from the Azerbaijani side of Antonov to deliver the promised An-178s at the originally declared price, and was not going to return the money transferred to it. This situation was due to the fact that the cost of these boards (and, most importantly, they were certified!) “Miscalculated” when signing the contract, taking into account the installation of Russian components on them, which Ukrainian aircraft manufacturers can no longer get. By virtue of which they are trying to almost double the price of their products, which Azerbaijan, of course, is completely unsatisfied. Well, and who after that will trust such "reliable" suppliers?

Over time, the story of the Azerbaijani contract somehow faltered, especially since the Antonov concern itself ceased to exist in 2017, and its enterprises finally turned into part of Ukroboronprom. At the same time, the only achievement of aircraft manufacturers over the past five years can be considered a contract with the national police of Peru for the supply of one copy of the An-178. True, the plane has not yet been handed over to customers, so there are still options, as they say. In any case, in the An-178 series, as promised, last year it didn’t go ... “So where do Antonov’s billions in profit come from?” - you ask. The whole point here is a rather large fleet of heavy cargo liners, which Antonova Airlines still has at its disposal, which actually contains the rest of the enterprise at the expense of its own earnings. “Mriya”, seven “Ruslans”, one or two units of An-22, An-26 and An-74T - with these “heavyweights” the Ukrainian airline feels rather well in the market of specific transportations, taking on the most heavy and bulky cargo. It is for control over them that Abromavichus and his relatives are leading a “battle without rules” today. However, not only.

“Antonov”, in addition to unique aircraft (which, perhaps, will still be profitable for some time even in the absence of normal maintenance, impossible without Russian components), this is also a huge production area (they can’t be small at the aircraft building enterprise) located in the city limits of Kiev. Behind them, or rather, the land plots on which these huge workshops are located, cunning metropolitan developers have been hunting for a long time. In light of this, statements recently heard from the lips of Ukroboronprom officials that the production of aircraft “must be taken out of the city” acquire a completely different sound. The company is well aware of how such initiatives will end in reality.

Aircraft manufacturers are simply thrown out not even into the street, but in a clean field. From “Antonov” there will be a company engaged in cargo transportation, and at best, one or two workshops for the repair of aircraft, which, in principle, are also capable of making some money, which can later be plundered by resourceful “defenders”. All this could be called paranoia, if not for the fate of such Ukrainian enterprises as the Electronmash, Bolshevik, Artyom, and Arsenal plants. All of them at one time were the flagships of the non-downstream industry, primarily the defense industry, and today they only have left signs (at best) and property pulled apart in pieces. From the scientific and production base, human potential in the form of highly qualified workers and engineering personnel, there is no trace left for a long time.

One of the last hopes of Ukrainian aircraft manufacturers, as, indeed, of many of their colleagues from other industries, was the arrival of large foreign investors in the company. However, “Antonov” was not very lucky here. In 2018, its representatives concluded an agreement on joint activities in a wide range of areas with ... the American corporation Boeing. What are all the intentions declared then by newly made "partners" from the USA today? I think it’s not worth explaining. This would save our own production, and not invest in someone else's land at distant lands! Boeing is currently carrying out unprecedented staff reductions in the United States itself, and for the first time in decades, its possible bankruptcy is being discussed quite seriously. Perhaps the only salvation could be the participation of the Chinese comrades, however, as the story with the Ukrainian Motor Sich enterprise showed, the Americans do not intend to allow representatives of the Celestial Empire to the Ukrainian defense industry even for a cannon shot. What do they say in Ukraine? “I myself won’t give a damn, and I won’t give it to another ...” Exactly this way everything happens. Well, if nothing changes in the most dramatic way (and there is not the slightest reason to hope for it), in the very near future we will only have to state the untimely death of the once glorious “Antonov”.
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  1. T. Hanks Offline T. Hanks
    T. Hanks (Igor) 12 June 2020 10: 02
    Oh, what a long article. As they say, hedgehogs cried, but ate a cactus. We will pity Antonov with the whole world. Even more Abramovich. Not just any bread can be used to spread other people's butter. The problems are common. Bombardier will not let lie. How is it with wings for our plane, with avionics, with passenger seats, not like ukrov? Freeze your ears?
  2. Alexei Ushakov Offline Alexei Ushakov
    Alexei Ushakov (Alexey Ushakov) 12 June 2020 10: 08
    To be honest, I'm only "for" if Antonov ceases to exist. Ours has less competition.
  3. Dmitry S. Offline Dmitry S.
    Dmitry S. (Dmitry Sanin) 12 June 2020 10: 27
    I liked MIG very much. Amusing modernization ... Ukrainians were the first to invent and implement the technology for the production of stealth aircraft from the 4th generation aircraft: bring the equipment to the aircraft factory, and we will make it invisible.
  4. Dust Offline Dust
    Dust (Sergei) 12 June 2020 10: 31
    the average salary of even engineering personnel is about 14 thousand hryvnias, that is, about 500 dollars)

    Hm. 500 dollars! This is good money. In Russia, it is 35 thousand rubles! Despite the fact that Ukrainians produce one aircraft per year.
  5. Do not fly a pig with a white swan. Not to be Ukrainians in aviators!
  6. Glennie Offline Glennie
    Glennie (Andrei) 12 June 2020 12: 53
    Only at the beginning of this month, two applications for the transportation of cargo AN-225. The demand for the transportation of large cargoes at the Antonov concern is constantly growing.
  7. Natan bruk Offline Natan bruk
    Natan bruk (Nathan Brook) 12 June 2020 13: 08
    Neukropny’s sweet dreams about Boeing’s bankruptcy are clear, but he should disappoint the author - that’s out of the question, Boeing has a large portfolio of orders, for the new 777 line, as for the Dreamliners, and soon the 737 MAX is coming back. It would be better for the author to take care of the deplorable state of new Russian projects on MS-21 water, which after lush presentations turned out to be dangling in the air after the US and Japan refused to supply composites. Talk about their own production has so far remained talk. The same can be said about the advertised start of production of modernized wide-body IL-96 and much more. In fact, what happened in Ukraine is pretty much just a gift for the Russian authorities - you can always compare yourself with Ukraine (not with the West, in fact).
  8. Cyril Offline Cyril
    Cyril (Kirill) 12 June 2020 13: 29
    then in the very near future it will only remain to ascertain the untimely demise of the once glorious “Antonov”.

    I have heard this since 2014. Now it is 2020.
  9. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 12 June 2020 14: 45
    Alas, you are all right.
    Tales about Boeing, Antonov, IL, SU, MS-21, Superjet have been heard since the 2010s.
    In the meantime, if not for the pandemic, Medvedev would again dump the money to buy a dozen aircraft over the hill and units inside ....
    He loves Boeing, Boeing ....
  10. alexandrmakedo Offline alexandrmakedo
    alexandrmakedo (Dubovitsky Victor Kuzmich) 12 June 2020 19: 54
    Quote: Dust
    the average salary of even engineering personnel is about 14 thousand hryvnias, that is, about 500 dollars)

    Hm. 500 dollars! This is good money. In Russia, it is 35 thousand rubles! Despite the fact that Ukrainians produce one aircraft per year.

    You have mastered only one arithmetic operation. Subtraction, division is still. Housing and communal services, do you take into account food prices?
    Start thinking.

    1. karabas barabas_2 (karabas barabas) 13 June 2020 08: 38
      Where did you get this? You want to eat it so much that it doubles in your eyes. Work out the ruble, maybe enough for cabbage soup ...
    2. Dust Offline Dust
      Dust (Sergei) 13 June 2020 11: 23
      You might think from your words that the Russians do not pay for housing and communal services and do not buy food!) They eat rainbows and shit butterflies!) ... Do you know that food and various services are more expensive in Russia than in Ukraine? .... You probably live in Moscow, and for you 35 thousand rubles is a penny. But Moscow is not all of Russia. I repeat, 35 thousand rubles for a Russian is very good money.
  11. karabas barabas_2 (karabas barabas) 13 June 2020 08: 33
    Russian aviation and astronautics are below the deepest bottom, this is a fact ...
  12. alexandrmakedo Offline alexandrmakedo
    alexandrmakedo (Dubovitsky Victor Kuzmich) 13 June 2020 12: 00
    Quote: karabas barabas_2
    Where did you get this? You want to eat it so much that it doubles in your eyes. Work out the ruble, maybe enough for cabbage soup ...

    Do not be lazy, give your numbers. Only one digit can dispute one digit. Do not ask silly questions. Remember that one ..... can ask so many questions that a hundred wise men will not answer. You're not one of those, are you?
  13. alexandrmakedo Offline alexandrmakedo
    alexandrmakedo (Dubovitsky Victor Kuzmich) 13 June 2020 12: 01
    Quote: karabas barabas_2
    Russian aviation and astronautics are below the deepest bottom, this is a fact ...

    With a beard clinging and banging his forehead on a pine tree, the world is upside down.
  14. alexandrmakedo Offline alexandrmakedo
    alexandrmakedo (Dubovitsky Victor Kuzmich) 13 June 2020 12: 05
    Quote: Cyril
    then in the very near future it will only remain to ascertain the untimely demise of the once glorious “Antonov”.

    I have heard this since 2014. Now it is 2020.

    You need to read the classics. You will not look stupid.
    Ostap Suleiman Bert Maria Bender Bey said that the economic gap is the deepest in the world. You can fall into it all your life.