On January 23, 2021, based on the information spread by the Ministry of Defense of Georgia , it became known that through the active involvement of the State Defense Ministry, the above-mentioned Ukrainian company signed a trilateral memorandum with the Georgian State Military Scientific-Technical Center DELTA and Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TAM), also known as „JSC Tbilaviamsheni“.
In the official statement, we read that the cooperation and, consequently, the memorandum „aims to develop the military industry and modernize aircraft belonging to the defense forces.” The same disclosure announces that „the company is already repairing helicopter engines and gears owned by the defense forces.” However, previously, nothing was publicly known about the existing cooperation between the “JSC Tbilaviamsheni” and the Ukrainian company, disguised to strengthen Georgia’s defense capabilities. Information about the current contractual relations was later confirmed by the Ministry of Defense in a statement issued on January 31, 2021: „”The contract between the company “Motor Sich” and JSC “Tbilaviamsheni”, concerning the engines and the reduction gears of the Mi-24 helicopter gunships, has already been signed. The cooperation envisages modernization and repair of the engines of the Mi-24 combat helicopters.”
It is noteworthy to find out exactly when a cooperation agreement was signed between JSC “Tbilaviamsheni” and “Motor Sich”, as, since 2017, the company has been under constant investigation by the security services and represents an object of attention of our strategic partner, the United States. Unfortunately, such information is not publicly sought, suggesting that the Georgian side was well aware of its relationship with a controversial company with a damaged reputation and under investigation in various countries. Consequently, the state authorities did not disclose information about the cooperation. In June 2020, while presenting the Minister’s report to the Parliament, Irakli Gharibashvili, then Minister of Defense of Georgia, mentioned aviation development, among other issues. During the speech, he focused on the joint events planned with the Georgian State Military Scientific-Technical Center DELTA and Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TAM) “Tbilaviamsheni”. “As a result of the joint cooperation of JSC “Tbilaviamsheni” and “DELTA”, the preparatory works for the restoration-rehabilitation-modernization of the existing aircraft are underway. In particular, we will start the rehabilitation and upgrade process of Su-25 and Mi-24 military helicopters in Delta hangars very soon.”– commented Irakli Gharibashvili. The Ministry also referred to the Mi-24 rehabilitation agreement in its statement of January 31, 2021, as an ongoing contractual obligation between “Motor Sich” and JSC “Tbilaviamsheni”. We can assume that in June 2020, this collaboration was already established. Moreover, we should not forget that in 2019, the world media outlets already aired the warning to avoid the danger of being caught in China’s “debt trap” policy, brought to Kyiv by the US President’s National Security Adviser John Bolton. Bolton’s messages referred to “Motor Sich” and its new Chinese owners. In 2020, the media reported the ongoing investigation concerning the “potential financing of terrorism” by the company “Motor Sich”. The statements of the world media outlets and the testimonies of various countries, are overwhelmed with the claims, accusations, and suspicions against the company mentioned above. Special mention should be made that the ambiguities and problems surrounding “Motor Sich” became known as early as in 2014, when, despite the Russian occupation of Crimea and the ongoing military confrontation in eastern Ukraine, “Motor Sich” together with other Ukrainian companies, continued to cooperate with the Russian Armed Forces providing them with military needs. This fact was reported by the Washington Post in 2014.