Belarusian Air Force

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Belarusian Air Force
VVS i PVO Belarusj.jpg
Belarusian Air Force badge
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-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.

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]

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[edit]

Current inventory[edit]

A Belarusian Su-27 in flight
A pair of MiG-29’s on final approach
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29  Russia multirole MiG-29BM 37[41] 13 upgraded to MiG-29BM in 2004[42]
Su-25  Russia attack 68[41]
Transport
An-26  Russia transport 4[41]
Il-76  Russia heavy transport 2[41]
Helicopters
Mil Mi-8  Russia utility / transport Mi-8/17 25[41]
Mil Mi-26  Russia transport 5[41]
Mil Mi-24  Russia attack Mi-35 20[41]
Trainer Aircraft
L-39  Czech Republic jet trainer 10[41]
Yak-130  Russia primary trainer 4 on order[41]
Mil Mi-2  Russia trainer 6[41]

Retired Aircraft[edit]

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

A Su-24M Fencer-D of the Belarusian Air Force
  • 13x MiG-25 - were scrapped
  • 42x Su-24 - were withdrawn from service[43]
  • 25x Su-27 - were withdrawn from service
  • Around at least two dozen old Mi-2 helicopters are stored in Belarus[44](including some displayed at the Minsk-Borovaya Air Museum[45]), and some may still be used by the Belarusian Police today.[46][47]
  • At least around two dozen or so old An-2 utility aircraft are stored in Belarus.[44]
  • In February 2012, all 35 or so Su-24s were withdrawn from service.[48][49]
  • In December 2012, all 17 Su-27P and 4 Su-27UBM1 were withdrawn from service.[50][51]

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. ^ "Belarus Returns MIG-29 Alert Fighters to Machulischi". Open Source IMINT. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Russia Deploys First Fighter Jets to Belarus". Open Source IMINT. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Russian QRA Fighters & A-50 at Baranovichi". Open Source IMINT. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Angola, Sudan, & Belarus’ 558th Aircraft Repair Plant". Open Source IMINT. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  7. ^ "Belarusian Baranavichy will be Russian fighter home". AIRheads↑FLY. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  8. ^ "Belarus Base Realignment and Closure". OSGEOINT. 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ "Russia ready to establish air base in Baranavichy - Charter'97 :: News from Belarus - Belarusian News - Republic of Belarus - Minsk". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  10. ^ "Lukashenko inspects 61st fighter airbase". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  11. ^ "Belarusian Air Force Base, Lida". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Russia to Open Airbase in Belarus Within Months". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  13. ^ "Russian Fighter Jets to Deploy to Belarus by Year End – Minister". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  14. ^ "Сайт Берёзовской районной газеты Маяк". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  15. ^ "Россь: мы уходим, уходим, уходим… (фото и видео)". Волковыск.BY. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  16. ^ White October Ltd. "The Conventional Imbalance and Debate on Russian Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  17. ^ "Defence Statistics 2013" August 1, 2013
  18. ^ "Defence Statistics 2014" May 15, 2014
  19. ^ "Funeral for two Air Force pilots in Baranavichy -". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  20. ^ "BelaPAN. In pictures: Funeral for two Air Force pilots in Baranavichy". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  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. ^ Harro Ranter. "ASN Aircraft accident 21-APR-2010 MiG-29 Fulcrum". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  24. ^ "Two fighter jets collide in mid-air in Brest region, no casualties reported". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  25. ^ Harro Ranter. "ASN Aircraft accident 23-SEP-2010 MiG-29UB 63". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  26. ^ "Two pilots killed in fighter jet crash in western Belarus". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  27. ^ http://www.tvr.by/eng/society.asp?id=36008
  28. ^ Harro Ranter. "ASN Aircraft accident 29-NOV-2011 Mil Mi-24 01 white". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  29. ^ "Military helicopter crashes in Pruzhany killing crew - Charter'97 :: News from Belarus - Belarusian News - Republic of Belarus - Minsk". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  30. ^ http://www.tvr.by/eng/society.asp?id=58486
  31. ^ Harro Ranter. "ASN Aircraft accident 12-JUN-2012 Sukhoi Su-25". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  32. ^ "Su-25 Fighter Jet Crashes in Belarus". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  33. ^ "Belarussian Su 25 crashes, pilot choses not to eject to save civilians". Indian Defence Forum. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  34. ^ http://en.rian.ru/mlitary_news/20110916/166882507.html
  35. ^ "Su-27 jet fighters inadvisable in Belarus". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  36. ^ "Belarusian army tests air control system". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  37. ^ "Russia to Deliver Four Warplanes to Belarus in 2015". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  38. ^ http://www.bharatdefencekavach.com/News/22461_Russia-to-deliver-four-warplanes-to-Belarus.html
  39. ^ John Pike. "Belarus Air and Air Defense Force". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  40. ^ "Belarusian army: between disarmament and optimisation". UDF.BY -. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  41. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 11". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Retrieved 26 December 2014. 
  42. ^ "Музей авиационной техники-Боровая". museum.ucoz.ru. Retrieved 12 January 2015. 
  43. ^ "Belarus restores Su-24s, but for whom?". AIRheads↑FLY. Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  44. ^ a b "Kukaviaczyna. Storage of old aircraft: Mi-2 and the An-2". 9 June 2009. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  45. ^ "Mil Mi-2, Minsk-Borovaya Air Museum, Belarus". Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  46. ^ "Belarus - Police (DOSAAF)". 27 June 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  47. ^ "Belarus - Police". 17 August 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2012. 
  48. ^ "Белоруссия отказалась от бомбардировщиков Су-24". 21 February 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. 
  49. ^ "Belarus' Su-27 fighter jets will probably be retired, defense minister say". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  50. ^ "bmpd". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 
  51. ^ "Belarus Phases Out Russian Warplanes, Radars". Retrieved 24 December 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

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