Belarusian Air Force

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Belarusian Air Force
VVS i PVO Belarusj.jpg
Active 15 June 1992 – present
Country  Belarus
Commanders
Commander-in-Chief Alexander Lukashenko
Insignia
Roundel URSS-Russian aviation red star.svg
Flag Flag VVS i PVO RB.jpg
Aircraft flown
Attack Su-25, Mi-24
Fighter MiG-29
Trainer L-39C
Transport An-24, An-26, Il-76, Mi-8, Mi-26

The Military Air Force and Air Defence Forces of the Republic of Belarus (Belarusian: Ваенна-паветраныя сілы і войскі супрацьпаветранай абароны Рэспублікі Беларусь) is the air force of the Armed Forces of Belarus, formed in 1992 from the 26th Air Army of the Soviet Air Forces which had been serving in the Byelorussian SSR.[1]

On 5 May 1942, on the basis of the Air Forces of the Western Front, the 1st Air Army was created.[2] By General Staff order of 10 January 1949, the Army became the 26th Air Army (ГШ ВС СССР № ОРГ 120026). In 1980, the 26th Air Army was redesignated the Air Forces of the Belorussian Military District (ГШ ВС СССР 1980 года № 314/1/00170). On 1 May 1988, in accordance with the Ministry of Defence of the USSR's Decree № 0018, the Air Forces of the District were again renamed the 26th Air Army. On 15 June 1992, by decree № 05 of the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus, the 26th Air Army headquarters became the command of the Air Forces of the Republic of Belarus.

Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer-D of the Belarusian Air Force (Ross AFB) at Radom-Sadków airfield, Air Show 2009.
Ilyushin Il-76MD of the Belarusian Air Force on arrival day at Radom-Sadków AFB before Air Show 2009.

Organization[edit]

In accordance with an edict of the President of Belarus in 2001, the Air Force, and Air Defense troops were created as one of the arms of the Armed Forces of Belarus. The VVS and Air Defense forces are intended to protect population centres such as cities and regions, as well as the administrative, industrial, economic interests of the Republic. They are also intended to defend troops from the impacts of enemy air attacks, and also against the attacks of hostile troops, as well as fire support and the guarantee of combat operations of ground forces.

In peacetime, VVS and Air Defense forces are on standby to protect the state boundary in the air and also control of Belarusian airspace.

The Air Force and Air Defense of the Armed Forces of Belarus are organized into six major flying regiments, including two interceptor, three strike, and a reconnaissance regiments. The air force consists of more than 18,170 personnel, though this number is being reduced. Prior to August 2010, there were 6 primary airbases: Machulishi (50th Mixed Air Base),[3] Lida (206th Assault Air Base), Baranovichi (61st Fighter Air Base),[4][5][6][7] Ross (116th Bomber-Recon Air Base), Pruzhany (181st Combat Helicopter Base), and Bereza (927th Fighter Air Base).[8] There are 4 active airbases: Baranovichi (61st Assault Air Base),[9][10] Lida (116th Guards Assault Air Base),[11][12][13] Pruzhany (181st Combat Helicopter Base) and Machulishi (50th Mixed Air Base), now December 2011.[14][15] The Air Force is responsible for all military aviation, as the Army maintains no aircraft of its own.

The Belarusian Air Force maintains close links with the Russian Air Force.[16][17][18]

A Belarusian Su-27UBM during a training flight before the Air Show 2009 in Radom. The aircraft crashed on the second day of the show killing both pilots.
Two Belarus Air Force MiG-29s

Accidents and Future Plans[edit]

On 30 August 2009, an Su-27 UBM aircraft crashed on the second day of the Air Show 2009 in Radom killing both pilots.[19][20][21][22]

On 21 April 2010, two MiG-29 aircraft were performing an exercise when they both collided. One managed to land safely, while the other crashed.[23][24]

On 23 September 2010, an MiG-29 aircraft crashed.[25][26][27]

On 29 November 2011, an Mi-24 helicopter crashed in a small forest near the village of Novye Zasimovichi. The crew of three people was killed on impact. According to eyewitnesses, "thick fog fell the previous evening."[28][29][30]

On 12 June 2012, an Su-25 aircraft crashed near the small village in Belarus. The pilot Nikolai Gridnyov lost control of the jet when doing exercises in low-altitude flight.[31] [32][33]

Future plans for Belarus is to buy around 18 Su-30Ks or Su-30KN, which are already outdated, according to Russia. The return of these Su-30K (originally leased by India) to Russia cannot be kept by the Russian Air Force. However, Russia can modify the aircraft for 5 million US$ a piece and Belarus can participate in the upgrade program and receive the Su-30KN in the future.[34][35][36]

Belarus and Russia have signed a contract for the delivery of four Yak-130 Mitten light attack aircraft to Belarus in 2015.[37][38][39][40]

Aircraft Inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[41][42] Notes
Fighter and CAS Aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum  Soviet Union fighter B
BM
UB
18
12
8
4 MiG-29BM shown in 2004.[43] 13 have been upgraded to MiG-29BM. One crashed.[44][45]
Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot  Soviet Union close air support Su-25
Su-25UB
18
4
Currently approximately 6 Su-25 stored in Lida (116th Guards Assault Air Base).[46][47]
Transport aircraft
Antonov An-24  Soviet Union transport An-24 1
Antonov An-26  Soviet Union transport An-26RT 4
Ilyushin Il-76  Soviet Union transport Il-76MD 2
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39  Czechoslovakia trainer L-39C 10 Purchased from the Ukraine in December 2005.
Attack Helicopters
Mil Mi-24  Soviet Union attack Mi-24V
Mi-24P
11
10
One lost in a crash on November 30, 2011.[48]
Transport and Utility Helicopters
Mil Mi-8  Soviet Union transport/attack Mi-8 25 At least 2 Mi-8MT have been upgraded to Mi-8MTKO.
Mil Mi-26  Soviet Union transport Mi-26 5

Retired Aircraft[edit]

After Collapse of the USSR in 1992 Belarus had in inventory :

  • 45x MiG-23 - were scrapped
  • 13x MiG-25 - were scrapped
  • 42x Su-24 - were withdrawn from service[49]
  • 25x Su-27 - were withdrawn from service
  • Around at least two dozen old Mi-2 helicopters are stored in Belarus[50](including some displayed at the Minsk-Borovaya Air Museum[51]), and some may still be used by the Belarusian Police today.[52][53]
  • At least around two dozen or so old An-2 utility aircraft are stored in Belarus.[50]
  • In February 2012, all 35 or so Su-24s were withdrawn from service.[54][55]
  • In December 2012, all 17 Su-27P and 4 Su-27UBM1 were withdrawn from service.[56][57]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Military Balance 2014"., February 05, 2014.
  2. ^ Belarusian Ministry of Defence, http://www.mod.mil.by/s37sprawka.html, accessed 22 May 2008
  3. ^ http://osimint.com/2014/05/08/belarus-returns-mig-29-alert-fighters-to-machulischi/
  4. ^ http://osimint.com/2014/01/30/russia-deploys-first-fighter-jets-to-belarus/
  5. ^ http://osimint.com/2014/05/10/russian-qra-fighters-a-50-at-baranovichi/
  6. ^ http://osimint.com/2014/06/11/angola-sudan-belarus-558th-aircraft-repair-plant/
  7. ^ http://airheadsfly.com/2013/12/07/belarusian-baranavichy-will-be-russian-fighter-home/
  8. ^ "Belarus Base Realignment and Closure". OSGEOINT. 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ http://charter97.org/en/news/2014/8/11/110684/
  10. ^ http://eng.belta.by/all_news/president/i_23977.html
  11. ^ http://wikimapia.org/8546224/Belarusian-Air-Force-Base-Lida
  12. ^ http://en.ria.ru/world/20130626/181896268/Russia-to-Open-Airbase-in-Belarus-Within-Months.html
  13. ^ http://en.ria.ru/world/20130828/183017435/Russian-Fighter-Jets-to-Deploy-to-Belarus-by-Year-End---Minister.html
  14. ^ http://maiak.by/?p=19974
  15. ^ http://volkovysk.by/volkovysk-news/ross-my-uxodim-uxodim-uxodim-foto-i-video.html
  16. ^ http://www.europeanleadershipnetwork.org/the-conventional-imbalance-and-debate-on-russian-non-strategic-nuclear-weapons_462.html
  17. ^ "Defence Statistics 2013" August 1, 2013
  18. ^ "Defence Statistics 2014" May 15, 2014
  19. ^ http://naviny.by/rubrics/english/2009/09/04/ic_media_259_3368/print/
  20. ^ http://en.belapan.com/archive/2009/09/03/en_media_letchiki_ph/
  21. ^ http://en.ria.ru/exsoviet/20090830/155966835.html
  22. ^ "Belarus to modernize its fleet of Sukhoi Su-27 jet fighter". January 31, 2014. 
  23. ^ http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=74083
  24. ^ http://naviny.by/rubrics/english/2010/04/22/ic_news_259_329920/
  25. ^ http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=77929
  26. ^ http://naviny.by/rubrics/english/2010/09/24/ic_articles_259_170570/
  27. ^ http://www.tvr.by/eng/society.asp?id=36008
  28. ^ http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=140147
  29. ^ http://charter97.org/en/news/2011/11/30/45216/
  30. ^ http://www.tvr.by/eng/society.asp?id=58486
  31. ^ http://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=146265
  32. ^ http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20120612/173989627.html
  33. ^ http://defenceforumindia.com/forum/military-aviation/37953-belarussian-su-25-crashes-pilot-choses-not-eject-save-civilians.html
  34. ^ http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110916/166882507.html
  35. ^ http://eng.belta.by/all_news/society/i_36108.html
  36. ^ http://eng.belta.by/all_news/society/Belarusian-army-tests-air-control-system_i_71653.html
  37. ^ http://en.ria.ru/military_news/20121218/178246458.html
  38. ^ http://www.bharatdefencekavach.com/News/22461_Russia-to-deliver-four-warplanes-to-Belarus.html
  39. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/belarus/af.htm
  40. ^ http://udf.by/english/featured-stories/93635-belarusian-army-between-disarmament-and-optimisation.html
  41. ^ World Air Forces 2014 December 10, 2013
  42. ^ http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/belarus/af-equipment.htm
  43. ^ http://aircraft-museum.ucoz.ru/publ/aehrodromy_v_belarusi/vvs_belarusi_13_let_v_samostojatelnom_polete/3-1-0-24
  44. ^ http://en.rian.ru/exsoviet/20100923/160701905.html
  45. ^ http://theaviationist.com/2013/09/26/belarus-migs/
  46. ^ http://news.belta.by/en/news/society?id=712924
  47. ^ http://theaviationist.com/2013/04/16/highway-operations-belarus/
  48. ^ "Military helicopter Mi-24 crashes in Pruzhany killing crew"
  49. ^ http://airheadsfly.com/2014/03/07/belarus-restores-su-24/
  50. ^ a b "Kukaviaczyna. Storage of old aircraft: Mi-2 and the An-2". 9 June 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  51. ^ "Mil Mi-2, Minsk-Borovaya Air Museum, Belarus". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  52. ^ "Belarus - Police (DOSAAF)". 27 June 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  53. ^ "Belarus - Police". 17 August 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  54. ^ "Белоруссия отказалась от бомбардировщиков Су-24". 21 February 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  55. ^ http://naviny.by/rubrics/english/2013/02/19/ic_news_259_411351/
  56. ^ http://bmpd.livejournal.com/407154.html
  57. ^ http://en.rian.ru/world/20130219/179570630.html

Further reading[edit]

  • Sergey Burdin (transl. Alan Dawes), 'Belarus Air Force,' Air Forces Monthly, March 2003, 26-30.