Belarusian Air Force
|Belarusian Air Force|
|Active||15 June 1992 – present|
|Transport||An-24, An-26, Il-76, Mi-8, Mi-26|
On 5 May 1942, on the basis of the Air Forces of the Western Front, the 1st Air Army was created. 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.
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), Lida (206th Assault Air Base), Baranovichi (61st Fighter Air Base), Ross (116th Bomber-Recon Air Base), Pruzhany (181st Combat Helicopter Base), and Bereza (927th Fighter Air Base). There are 4 active airbases: Baranovichi (61st Assault Air Base), Lida (116th Guards Assault Air Base), Pruzhany (181st Combat Helicopter Base) and Machulishi (50th Mixed Air Base), now December 2011. 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.
Accidents and Future Plans 
On 20 April 2009, two MiG-29 aircraft were performing an exercise when they both collided. One managed to land safely, while the other crashed.
On 30 August 2009, an Su-27UBM aircraft crashed on the second day of the Air Show 2009 in Radom killing both pilots.
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.
Aircraft Inventory 
|Fighter and CAS Aircraft|
|Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29||Soviet Union||fighter||MiG-29
|4 MiG-29BM shown in 2004. 13 have been upgraded to MiG-29BM. One crashed.|
|Sukhoi Su-25||Soviet Union||close air support||Su-25
|Currently approximately 20 Su-25 stored in Lida (116th Guards Assault Air Base).|
|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||1|
|Aero L-39||Czechoslovakia||trainer||L-39C||10||Purchased from the Ukraine in December 2005.|
|Mil Mi-24||Soviet Union||attack||Mi-24V
|One lost in a crash on November 30, 2011.|
|Transport and Utility Helicopters|
|Mil Mi-8||Soviet Union||transport/attack||Mi-8||42||At least 2 Mi-8MT have been upgraded to Mi-8MTKO.|
|Mil Mi-26||Soviet Union||transport||Mi-26||12|
Former Aircraft 
- Around at least two dozen old Mi-2 helicopters are stored in Belarus(including some displayed at the Minsk-Borovaya Air Museum), and some may still be used by the Belarusian Police today.
- At least around two dozen or so old An-2 utility aircraft are stored in Belarus.
- In February 2012, all 35 or so Su-24s were withdrawn from service.
- In December 2012, all 17 Su-27P and 4 Su-27UBM1 were withdrawn from service.
- "Military Balance 2013"., March 14, 2013.
- Belarusian Ministry of Defence, http://www.mod.mil.by/s37sprawka.html, accessed 22 May 2008
- "Belarus Base Realignment and Closure". OSGEOINT. 12 December 2011.
- "World Air Forces 2013". Flightglobal.com, December 11, 2012.
- "Military helicopter Mi-24 crashes in Pruzhany killing crew"
- "Kukaviaczyna. Storage of old aircraft: Mi-2 and the An-2". 9 June 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Mil Mi-2, Minsk-Borovaya Air Museum, Belarus". Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Belarus - Police (DOSAAF)". 27 June 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Belarus - Police". 17 August 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Белоруссия отказалась от бомбардировщиков Су-24". 21 February 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
Further reading 
- Sergey Burdin (transl. Alan Dawes), 'Belarus Air Force,' Air Forces Monthly, March 2003, 26-30.