Ukraine conflict: Ukroboronprom's Zhytomyr Armour Plant destroyed

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Zhytomyr products included the Strazh fire support vehicle, pictured at the 2017 Arms and Security Exhibition in Kyiv. (Janes/Samuel Cranny-Evans)

Ukroboronprom's Zhytomyr Armour Plant was destroyed and three people were killed, according to media reports on 6 March. CNN said it had authenticated a geolocated video posted on Telegram showing the levelled plant to support Russian claims of ‘demilitarising' Ukraine.

A Ukroboronprom spokesperson would not confirm to Janes on 7 March the destruction of the plant but said the conglomerate's enterprises “are currently operating in intensive mode. The information on the status of the enterprises is classified”.

The spokesperson referred to a statement posted on Ukroboronprom's website on 26 February: “We can't disclose the details of the situation at our defence enterprises to avoid assisting the enemy ... The plants are currently operating according to their schedules and algorithms agreed for each enterprise. In some cases, all design and other documentation has been relocated. Ukroboronprom enterprises work seven days a week, without weekends.”

The statement added that Russian attacks on Ukroboronprom plants had been repulsed by the Ukrainian armed forces, national security service, and national police.

Ukroboronprom said in a statement on 28 February that its enterprises had transferred military equipment, including more than 50 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, and tanks; more than 45 special, cargo, and passenger vehicles; 574 mortars and grenade launchers; more than 170 other weapons; 600 missiles; 105,000 rounds of ammunition; and 12,000 explosive devices to the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, the National Guard of Ukraine, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, the Territorial Defence Forces, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and other law-enforcement agencies.

Ukroboronprom reported on its website on 2 March that it had transported armoured and other special vehicles and small arms over the past two days. The conglomerate stated on its website on 4 March that its enterprises continued to repair and manufacture weapons and military equipment for the Ukrainian army.

Although it did not admit to the destruction of the Zhytomyr Armour Plant, Ukroboronprom announced on its website on 27 February that Russian forces destroyed the An-225, the largest aircraft in the world, on 24 February at Antonov's airfield in Hostomel near Kyiv, where it was undergoing maintenance. Ukroboronprom said restoring the aircraft would cost more than USD3 billion and take more than five years.

Japan sets defence budget target of 2% of GDP

by Jon Grevatt

Japan aims to achieve defence spending worth 2% of GDP by 2027. Janes Defence Budgets analysis suggests that while this effort might prove overambitious, even a limited increase in the proportion of funding allocated to defence will result in strong growth in expenditure. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Japan's Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada has confirmed a government plan to strongly increase defence spending over the next few years to support the “drastic strengthening of [Japan's] defence capabilities”.

Hamada said in a Ministry of Defense (MoD) press conference that the plan had been endorsed by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, who, on 28 November, directed his government to increase defence spending to 2% of national GDP by 2027.

“Towards the drastic strengthening of our defence capabilities, [the] prime minister has said it is necessary to urgently strengthen [the defence budget] within five years,” Hamada said in comments published by the MoD.

He added, “I have been instructed to decide on measures to secure financial resources for defence expenditure and revenue in an integrated manner. In response to the prime minister's instruction, the MoD will accelerate co-ordination with the Ministry of Finance and others.”

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Czechoslovak Group buys ammo maker Fiocchi Munizioni

by Marc Selinger

Fiocchi makes ammunition for the .50 Browning Machine Gun. (Fiocchi)

Czech Republic-based conglomerate Czechoslovak Group (CSG) has expanded its foreign footprint by acquiring a 70% stake in Italian ammunition manufacturer Fiocchi Munizioni, the buyer announced on 25 November.

Petr Formánek, CSG's head of mergers and acquisitions, said the Fiocchi purchase is consistent with CSG's strategy of buying companies that are “oriented towards Western Europe and the US”. CSG chairman Michal Strnad said that Fiocchi enjoys a “solid presence” in NATO countries.

Fiocchi, which makes ammunition for handguns, machine guns, rifles, and shotguns, will become part of a new CSG division called CSG Ammo+. Fiocchi employs more than 1,300 people and expects to generate a consolidated revenue of over EUR380 million (USD393 million) in 2022. It has operations in the UK and the US in addition to Italy.

About a fifth of Fiocchi's production is for its defence and law-enforcement segment, a CSG spokesperson told Janes on 28 November. Fiocchi also serves the hunting and sports shooting markets.

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Update: First C-130J-30 for Indonesia produced

by Akhil Kadidal

The first of five C-130J-30s ordered by Indonesia conducts its first test flight on 27 October 2022. (Lockheed Martin)

The first of five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30s ordered for the Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) has conducted its first test flight, and the aircraft is being prepared for delivery in 2023.

Lockheed Martin told Janes that the first aircraft (serial number A-1339) is scheduled for delivery in the first quarter of 2023. The remaining four aircraft will be delivered through 2024, a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said. The company added that the first aircraft conducted its maiden test flight on 27 October.

Indonesia has been considering augmenting its existing C-130 fleet for several years. The Indonesian Ministry of Defense did not respond to Janes query for information about the contract details or the acquisition at the time of publication.

The company has since confirmed to Janes that the first aircraft are being sold to Indonesia as part of a Direct Commercial Sale (DCS). Janes assesses that the deal was likely signed in 2019.

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