Updated at 11:07,12-12-2017

Belarus military production growing rapidly

Stanislau Ivashkevich, Minsk, Belsat

Even though some Arab states did not have money for the new weapons, they had to fight right away. It was at the beginning of this decade, when the shooting of peaceful demonstrations by the authorities there turned civil protests in the civil wars.


What can we offer?


We can supply scopes, automatic control and various other modern devices for weapons of the last century, which the Soviet Union massively supplied to the Arab countries. In this niche, Belarus has a great competitive advantage — due to the large military-industrial base remaining from the Soviet era.

“Poor countries want to modernize the old technology, which still exists and may do so for years and for decades, they are seeking a manufacturer which could do it cheaply. And Belarus provides such services,” said military analyst Alyaksandr Alesin.


Why now?


An additional impetus to the domestic industrial complex was given by the Russian-Ukrainian military conflict. Previously, industrial complexes of these two states were mainly tied to each other. But after the break of cooperation, both our southern and eastern neighbor began to look for a replacement in Belarus. Alyaksandr Lukashenka then set the task not only to modernize the weapons, but also to manufacture it.


Polonaise

This year the government officially presented the first Belarusian missile system called Polonaise. It was demonstrated at the last parade. It is something akin to the “Grad” system but with a much bigger range and better targeting system. Chassis was made by the MZKT, and the missiles — presumably by China.

According to the head of the country, the Polonaise is already in high demand among foreign importers. However, it is impossible to verify because of the closed nature of military deals. Unlike the peaceful part of the Belarusian economy, which has been experiencing a fall for the second consecutive year, the growiing number of hot spots really creates a growing demand for the domestic defense industry. While from 2004 to 2011, Belarus, based on the International Centre for the Arms Trade Analysis, exported arms for approximately $ 500 million, this year, almost the same amount was sold in just the first nine months.


Large customers like Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan

“This Asian country has upgraded virtually all the air defense system in its arsenal with the help of Belarus. This is a very big deal. In addition, Kazakhstan is a very solid client of ours. Well, the largest customer is, of course, Russia,” said Mr Alesin.

Meanwhile, with regard to supplying new weapons to its own army, the real situation in Belarus may differ from that drawn by the authoritites. At a meeting of the budget committee of the House of Representatives last month, General Valery Haydukevich resented the fact that the government postpones the annual purchase of new combat aircraft. According to Haydukevich, upgrading those that are in service with the local Air Force is no longer possible. Deterioration of existing equipment is about 80%, and in a year or two, the general said, Belarus will remain almost without combat aircraft.