Analysis: Belarus receives two first Su-30SM fighters

Belarusian Air Force and Air Defence Troops received their two first Sukhoi Su-30SM (NATO reporting name: Flanker-H) multirole combat aircraft, the country’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) announced on November 13.

Belarus receives two first Su 30SM fighters  Su-30SM  (Picture source: Dmitry Pichugin)

Su-30SM is a multirole fighter aircraft developed by JSC Sukhoi Design Bureau for the Russian Air Force. It is an advanced derivative of the Su-30MK combat aircraft family. The Su-30SM fighter was designed in accordance with the requirements of the Russian Air Force. It is being manufactured by IRKUT, a company based in Russia. The first Su-30SM fighter designed for the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) performed its maiden flight in September 2012.

The multirole Su-30SM can be deployed in counter-air strikes, counter-land and counter-sea missions. It can conduct electronic counter-countermeasures and early warning tasks. The aircraft also acts as a command-and-control platform within a fleet of combat aircraft performing joint missions.

"On November 13, the first two Su-30SM fighter of 12 planned to be delivered [to Belarus] arrived at Baranovichi airbase," said the MoD in a statement.

According to the Belarusian military, the draft agreement had been finalized at the MILEX 2019 defense show held in Minsk, Belarus in mid-May. "The contract will be implemented within three years, with the Belarusian troops receiving a wing of four aircraft each year," said the MoD, adding that the decision to acquire the Su-30SM had been preceded by a cycle of research-and-development works on the designing of the Belarusian military’s mid-term potential, which had been conducted by the specialists of the Research-and-Scientific Institute of the Armed Forces in accordance with a MoD’s order.

Previously, Belarus acquired 12 Yakovlev YaK-130 (Mitten) operational trainers that can be used to train pilots for the Su-30SM, the MoD added.

The modernization of the Belarusian Armed Forces’ inventory is a result of long-term military-technical cooperation between the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation, said the Belarusian MoD. "Previously, the allies delivered to that country the S-300 air defense systems and the newest Tor-M2 [SA-15 Gauntlet] SAM systems. The land component of the Belarusian army was reinforced with upgraded T-72B3 main battle tanks," added the ministry.

On November 12, the country’s Defense Minister Andrey Ravkov held a press conference, at which he detailed some Belarusian military programs. "The acquisition and delivery of the [9M120] Ataka [AT-9 Spiral-2] anti-tank guided missiles [ATGMs], which have been designed on the base of the 9M114 Shturm [AT-6 Spiral] ATGM, are scheduled for 2020-2021. The missile is intended to engage armored vehicles, manpower, field installations, air defense systems, and helicopters at distances of up to 6 km," the minister was quoted as saying by Belarus’ state-owned news agency BelTA. Since the beginning of the year, the Belarusian troops have received some 520 systems.

According to Ravkov, the 116th Guard Air Assault Aviation Base has already established a squadron of 12 YaK-130 operational trainers. The Belarusian troops have also received upgraded BTR-70MB1 armored personnel carriers, Kaiman (Cayman) armored vehicles, modernized radio relay stations, Groza-R2 handheld counter-unmanned aerial vehicle systems, and other items of hardware. "We have procured the upgraded 9M113M [AT-5 Spandrel] ATGMs and delivered them to the troops. This missile is designed to engage armored vehicles protected by explosive reactive armor, reinforced fire nests, moving and stationary ground targets, and even low-flying rotary-wing aircraft round-the-clock under harsh weather conditions at distances of up to 4,000 m," said Ravkov.

Russia and Belarus are maintaining successful and fruitful cooperation in the military-technical field. This May, Director General of Russia’s sole arms exporting company Rosoboronexport (a subsidiary of the state corporation Rostec) Alexander Mikheev said the volume of the military-technical cooperation between Russia and Belarus had exceeded USD1 billion since 2001.

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