Belarus selects missiles as one of the priorities of national defence. And is mastering missile technology without Russia.
On October 3, 2015 Aliaksandr Lukashenka visited the republican production unitary enterprise “Precision Electromechanical Plant” in Dziarzhinsk region (source). In a familiar manner Belarusan leader has made a number of statements, some of which are very interesting.
Necessary to pay attention. President Lukashenka spoke on the defensive nature of the Belarusian military doctrine. It is based on the ability to inflict unacceptable damage on the aggressor. And the missiles of domestic production should be means of such damage. Such military equipment was created in Belarus. And the localization of production of missiles for multiple launch rocket systems (hereinafter MLRS) was established. MLRS “Polonaise” and the equipment for testing rocket engines were presented. At the same time the missiles for MLRS, which are characterized by high noise immunity and are expected to have a calibre of 300 mm (source) were presented. That means we speak about ammunition that can be classified as high precision one.
Then the President spoke on the task for Goskomvoenprom (State military industrial Committee) of creating more advanced missile technology in the framework of “international agreements”. It is obvious that the latter refers to the Soviet-US Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987. This document is totally discriminatory to our country – it prohibits Belarus from having ballistic and cruise land-based missiles with a range of over 500 km. However, the Treaty says nothing with respect to air-based cruise missiles. It should be noted that Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are the only European countries following the limitations of this document.
It is reported that the estimated completion date of the new missile systems is around 2016-2017. I.e. virtually “tomorrow”. Such a short period of development and adoption of new weapons systems can be explained by one of two things: either it is supposed to purchase a full cycle production technologies abroad, or the work is already underway for a long time and its finish is not so far. The second variant is quite probable.
At the moment the scientific and industrial complex to create MLRS with a range of over 200 km is it established (source).
One of the main issues is the maximum localization of production. The possibility of domestic production of rocket engines was claimed as well (source).
Besides the production of missiles and equipment “Precision Electromechanical Plant” developed “… extend the life of short-, medium and small range missiles for “Grad”, etc., and for the aircraft of guided and unguided missiles” (source). Capacities of the enterprise allow to serve 10 thousand of units a year. And there are prospects of increasing the volumes. Obviously, it’s not just about the work to extend the life of ammunition, but also about their modernization. Aliaksandr Lukashenka, speaking of the missiles for the MLRS “Grad”, misspoke that their range had been increased from 20 to 40 or even 60 km. This is also was announced by the head of the State military industrial Committee: “… We have learned and now we are prolonging the life, i.e. the giving the new life, and this is not only “facelift”: a completely new electronics, a completely new component base, and many means of and air and land destruction will be used for the protection of the state”.
During his visit to the Plant Aliaksandr Lukashenka said: “Because in case, God forbid, of the conflict we have weapons. But if these weapons are produced not in our country, and, what is most important, we don’t produce the ammunition for them, using what we are going to fight?” For some reason he missed the point that the weapons and ammunition, that are in service in Belarus, are mostly created and produced by our major ally — Russia. And it is logical to assume that we will fight using the equipment, kindly provided or sold to us by this ally. Or is it supposed, that the deliveries from the east will be undesirable or even impossible at all?
What President Lukashenka visited. Republican Production Unitary Enterprise “Precision Electromechanical Plant” was created “from scratch” in 2009. It specializes in the activities in the sphere of military goods, dual-use goods and other products, including the performance of work on the creation, production, repair, modernization and disposal of weapons, military equipment; the implementation of scientific research on the production of arms and ammunition, spare parts, components, assemblies and devices to them. It is the customer and the owner of the national satellite communication and broadcasting system “Belintersat”, created with the support of China (source).
There are still some questions. From the published data on President Lukashenka’s visit to “Precision Electromechanical Plant” it can’t be said with certainty that Belarus has established a complete production cycle of the missiles for MLRS “Polonaise”.
Further, the national system of satellite communication and broadcasting of the Republic of Belarus is built on the basis of its own communications satellite BELINTERSAT-1 and will provide a wide range of telecommunications services (satellite TV broadcasting, satellite broadcasting, broadband Internet access). The satellite will be made based on the Chinese DFH-4 platform. The project will provide “… a wide range of satellite services … throughout the eastern hemisphere of the Earth” (source). It’s interesting, that DFH-4 platform is designed for direct relaying signals without intermediate ground stations and it is supposed that it “… can be used to transmit information about the enemy to several hundred units of ground forces, including those who are on the battlefield at the same time” (source). Is it possible to use satellite BELINTERSAT-1 for connection, for example, with UAV? Or for trajectory correction of the missiles? That would be logical, given the fact that the “Precision Electromechanical Plant” is both a manufacturer of high-precision missiles and operator of satellite communications systems.
The desire for independence in defence sphere is quite natural for every country with ambitious leaders. Official Minsk is pushed to this by very ambiguous position of Moscow, which does not provide (at least) any assistance in building up the military potential of Belarus.
The “missile project” is not related to the events of the past two years in Ukraine, as it was started much earlier.
Further development of national missile systems is associated with the development of ballistic and/or cruise missiles in co-operation with China and/or Pakistan.
Belarus’ participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 is contrary to the national interests. The Treaty itself does not meet the realities of the time. And it must be denounced by all participants or our country should leave it unilaterally.
P.S. Belarus is developing its missile capabilities basing on the experience of Serbia, Turkey and China. Currently, the developers face the task to organize production of Belarusian rocket engine. And it can be done in the next five years. On October 3, 2015 Aliaksandr Lukashenka gave necessary instructions.