Delays Complicating Ukraine's Armoured Vehicle Shipment To Iraq

KIEV, Ukraine -- Delays caused by slow parts suppliers are complicating Ukraine's manufacture of shipment of armoured vehicles to Iraq, but the weapons will still be shipped on time, a government official said Thursday.

BTR-4 armoured personnel carrier.

Some Ukrainian firms manufacturing components for a batch of BTR-4 armoured personnel carriers for the Iraqi army have missed deadlines and are holding up final assembly, said Valery Predko, director of the Malyshev factory.

Malyshev is Ukraine's top combat vehicle manufacturer. Its BTR-4, a troop transporter, is the main item in a $2.5 billion dollar arms deal Baghdad signed in 2009.

Ukraine is scheduled to deliver a batch of 62 BTRs to Iraq by the end of 2012, and the delivery will take place on time despite delays caused by parts suppliers, Predko said.

'Our customer should be confident that he will get what he ordered on time,' he said. 'We will do everything possible to make this happen.'

Delays and quality problems with an initial batch of 10 BTRs sent Iraq in January caused a scandal in the Ukrainian government, which has high hopes of selling the country's weaponry in the international arms market.

A second batch of 30 vehicles shipped in April and was accepted into the Iraqi army in May, Predko said.

Iraq's military will by contract from 2011-2013 receive a total 420 of the Ukraine-manufactured BTRs, as well as transport planes and maintenance support.

Source: DPA