Talking to RIA Novosti, people at the Ukrainian Defense Ministry's press center noted that an expert group from the US Defense Department's defense-threat reduction agency comprised project manager Donald Parman, as well as a representative of Ration Co.
The US delegation is to visit military installations in Nikolayev, Ozernoye, Belaya Tserkov and Vinnitsa, which scrap weaponry in line with the cooperative-threat reduction program. US experts will assess the state of former nuclear-warhead depots and service centers being financed by the US Defense Department.
Apart from that, Ukrainian and US experts intend to discuss the issue of scrapping redundant aircraft, their units and strap-on equipment, due to be phased out, as Ukraine's Armed Forces prune their warplane fleet.
Ukraine retained a sizeable nuclear-missile potential after the Soviet Union's disintegration. For instance, the country boasted 220 strategic delivery vehicles, including 130 RS-19 inter-continental ballistic missiles (NATO reporting name, SS-19), 46 modern RS-22 (SS-24) ICBM-s, as well as 44 strategic and intermediate-range bombers replete with 1,068 long-range cruise missiles. All these delivery vehicles could carry 1,944 nuclear warheads. 13 RS-18 ICBM regiments were removed from combat duty over the 1996-1998 period; moreover, 130 silo-based launchers were scrapped. Kiev eliminated 111 RS-18 ICBM-s, transferring another 19 RS-18 missiles to Russia. Moscow also received three Tu-95-MS Bear strategic bombers, eight Tu-160 Blackjack strategic bombers, as well as 581 air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM-s). Ukraine also dismantled 29 Tu-160 and Tu-95-MS warplanes over that time period, scrapping another 487 X-55 ALCM-s.
The last silo-based missile launcher for RS-22 inter-continental ballistic missiles was destroyed in the Nikolayev region in October 2001. Therefore one can say that Ukraine has completely fulfilled its commitments stemming from the START-I treaty's Lisbon protocol. The Ukrainian side began to scrap Tupolev Tu-22-M-2 and Tu-22-3 Backfire intermediate-range bombers, as well as 225 X-22 cruise missiles, in November 2002.
Plans are in place to scrap 31 Tu-22-M bombers until 2005. Among other things, 12 Tu-22-M-3 bombers will be cut up in Poltava; another 17 Tu-22-M-2 bombers and two other Tu-22-3 warplanes will be scrapped in Nikolayev. This program is financed by the US Government; the relevant contract was awarded to Ration Co. of the United States.