By Vladimir V. Sytin
The Ukrainian Times
The four projects implemented by scientists of Igor Sikorsky Kiev Polytechnic Institute (KPI) serve as a concrete example of successful scientific cooperation between Ukrainian universities and NATO within the framework of the Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Program. These projects are:
1. “Development of Mine and IED Recognition System Based on Ultrawideband Technology” (Prof. Sergey Bunin, Partner Country Project Manager, Institute of Telecommunication Systems), funding totals EUR300,000
2. “Long-Range Stand-Off Microwave Radar for Personnel Protection” (Prof. Viktor Naidenko, Partner Country Project Manager, Faculty of Radio Engineering), funding totals EUR200,000
3. “Infrared Transparent Windows for High-Speed Aerial Vehicles” (Andrei Ragulya, Partner Country Project Manager and Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), funding totals EUR420,500.
4. “Modeling and Mitigation of Social Disasters Caused by Catastrophes and Terrorism” (Prof. Natalia Pankratova, Partner Country Project Manager, Institute for Applied System Analysis), funding totals EUR120,000
Overall, the above projects are valued at a total of 1,040,500 euros that is equivalent to some 30 million grivnas. This sum is about 1.5 times national budget allocations to the KPI.
According to Mikhail Ilchenko, KPI Vice-Rector for Scientific Work, in addition to purely financial aspects of the implementation of the projects assigned by the NATO Research Council, their peculiarities are as follows:
– Considerable funds are allocated to buy research equipment and measuring units. In particular, KPI received modern speedy oscillographs, signal generators, spectrum analyzers, vector circle analyzers, industrial equipment designed for powder production of thermally, optically and mechanically compatible infrared transparent materials, among others.
– The complexity of problems being solved requires international cooperation. In this context, the Ukrainian-Norwegian joint project of developing the mine and IED recognition system based on ultrawideband technology can serve as an example. Original research on properties of ultrawideband signals was conducted by Ukrainian scientists led by Prof. Sergey Bunin of KPI while microchips of future mine detectors were made by their peers of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology led by Prof. Tor Sverre Lande. The developed mine detector will be capable of pinpointing plastic and metal mines in any ground at a depth of up to 0.5 meter, and their 3D image is displayed on the monitor of the device. The results of the first phase of this project were presented to Dr. Eyup Turmus, SPS Science Advisor. According to experts’ estimates, this Ukrainian-Norwegian project is expected to make a breakthrough, solving the problems of mine clearing the world over.
– The portable microwave radar for personnel protection is being developed with the participation of KPI scientists. It is supposed to detect hidden weapons on the body of a certain person pinpointed in a crowd at a distance of 20 meters, particularly knives, pistols, grenades and the like. This information can help take timely relevant preventive measures. Also, the implementation of this project serves as the example of international cooperation. Specifically, Ukrainian scientists led by Prof. Viktor Naidenko are developing generators of ultrashort video pulses in the range of 150-200 picoseconds and specialized ultrabroadband antennas designed for their emission. At the same time, their Canadian peers at the Hamilton-based McMaster University, who are led by Prof. Natalia Koleva Nikolova are working on receivers of the above signals, as well as on their special processing and identification to get output information for radar users.
– The NATO project entitled “Infrared Transparent Ceramic Windows for High-Speed Aerial Vehicles” tackles the problem of developing IR-transparent materials for modern high-speed vehicles, particularly self-guided missile systems. The know-how of the project is based on the application of the technology of spark plasma sintering. This technology is of Ukrainian origin and it enables the creation of non-porous, superhard and refractory materials with exceptional mechanical properties in terms of hardness and strength. The practical development of theses materials has become possible, thanks to industrial equipment for powder production of materials under conditions of regulated pressure, vacuum and ultrahigh current. The equipment was acquired at the expense of the NATO project in the amount of 240,000 euros.
– And the fourth NATO project, which is carried out in KPI, deals with the development of tools to process large volumes of unstructured information generated by the mass media and the public. The results of this project help monitor and predict social processes, especially during social disturbances and disasters, particularly those caused by acts of terrorism. Research principles of this project relate to the know-how to evolve mechanisms of predicting and building quality models fit to describe social disasters. The situational analytical center of monitoring, detection and reaction to social disasters, which was established at the expense of the project, is using the developed techniques that provide decision-making support regarding the best practices to eliminate and reduce the negative consequences of a social disaster in the context of sustainable development and a fight against terrorism.
The essence of each of the four projects implemented by Igor Sikorsky KPI demonstrates conformity between tasks performed by this university and aims of the Science for Peace and Security Program.
It must be noted that the large scientific potential is concentrated in Ukrainian universities whose research is represented by the Council of Vice-Rectors for Scientific Work on a voluntary basis. Undoubtedly, its involvement in the tasks set by the Science for Peace and Security Program is requisite. The Council held preliminary consultations with heads of several universities. The following universities are ready to implement projects:
1. Kharkov Karazin National University – eight projects.
2. Odessa Mechnikov National University – two more projects, one of them being carried out already.
3. Uzhgorod National University – one project.
4. Igor Sikorsky KPI – four more projects.
5. Vinnitsa National Technical University – one project.
6. Dnepr National Metallurgical Academy of Ukraine – eight projects.
7. Kremenchug National University – one project.
The project proposals of Ukrainian universities offer concrete engineering developments in the field of security and defense, including cyber security and counter measures against external threats in information space, ecological and energy security, the impact of climate change on the defense capability, development of electronic warfare systems, protected telecommunication systems, georadars, identification of unsanctioned enclosures of radioactive materials on a masking background when transporting large objects, etc.
And last but not the least, the experience of the implementation of projects within the NATO Program is undoubtedly positive. However, the effectiveness of enlisting the great potential of Ukraine’s science to implement the NATO Program will be higher if scientific circles solve the problem of registration of NATO projects with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine. So far, the registration in this country is the machine, which you go into as a pig and come out as a sausage.