The 11th international arms and defense technology expo MILEX 2023 opened in Minsk on 17 May. In addition to displaying defense and security products the forum traditionally serves as a venue for stepping up Belarus' military cooperation with other countries. We will demonstrate and talk about the most up-to-date and interesting samples of Belarusian defense products.
Drones in place of honor
Unmanned aerial vehicles are widely represented at the expo this year. Most of the exhibits on display were made by Belarusian companies. The most interesting drone is probably MN and MK modifications of the Burevestnik drone. The latter is the more interesting of the two. The MK modification can be used for reconnaissance and strike missions. The drone can drop two compact drones MB-30, which function as loitering munitions. Similar products have already proven their effectiveness in modern conflicts.
Main battle tanks T-72 never get old
For a long time many world experts have been of the opinion that tanks should no longer be used on a battlefield. However, conflicts of the last few years demonstrated that the experts are mistaken.
The T-72 tank attracted crowds of MILEX visitors. The main battle tank was initially designed by the Soviet Union. It has been upgraded and polished by Belarusian military and scientists taking into account modern trends. A T-72BM2 modification is on display at MILEX 2023. It boasts improved firing capabilities because the cannon can be fired by the tank commander now in addition to the gunner. Apart from that, the same modification came with television and heat vision tools, which give the crew better range of vision. The tank is also fitted with explosive reactive armor on a large area of the body and the tank turret. The tail of the tank is protected by counter-HEAT grating. Unlike previous modification the T-72BM2 has an autonomous source of power. Optics available to the gunner has been improved as well.
Charming music of Fleita and Polonez
MILEX 2023 visitors can also see another interesting product made by the Belarusian defense industry in the last few years – the multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) Polonez and Fleita. The former boasts capabilities on par with foreign analogs. A Polonez MLRS can fire eight missiles simultaneously at a target 50-300km away depending on the MLRS modification. The capability makes the MLRS as potent as cutting-edge weapon systems.
Fleita is a lighter MLRS. It is based on the Asilak truck and fitted with 80mm and 120mm missiles. It can hit targets 5-52km away. Increased mobility is the main feature. It can get ready to fire within only 30 seconds. The time needed to deploy for battle in real conditions is one minute at most.
A modern air defense system combines several components, which are designed to accomplish individual goals on a battlefield. We've already said that unmanned aerial vehicles play an important role in modern warfare. Antidrone weapons do, too.
Belarusian developers presented an upgraded version of the Soviet self-propelled antiaircraft system ZSU-23-4 Shilka at MILEX 2023. The vehicle is designed to destroy low-altitude aerial targets, including drones. It can destroy targets up to 2,500m away at an altitude of up to 1,500m. The weapon can destroy targets flying at speeds under 450 meters per second.
The old vehicle has been upgraded with the optic-electronic module Strizh-M2, which allows finding, locking on, and automatically tracking a target according to data fed from a command body. It can search for aerial, ground, and abovewater targets autonomously. Visualization of the surrounding area and service information has been greatly improved.
Various armies embrace more and more robotized solutions. The robotized platform Berserk is on display at MILEX 2023. The self-propelled platform is fitted with a coaxial aircraft machine gun GShG-7.62 and can be used against enemy personnel or low-attitude drones.
The platform boasts high mobility and high off-road capability. A Berserk can be used to protect the perimeter of an installation. The robot is controlled remotely up to 5km away in open areas and up to 1km away in an urban environment. The distance of aimed fire is up to 1km. The robot can recognize a human silhouette up to 2km away. An armored vehicle or a helicopter can be recognized up to 6km and 10km away.
MILEX 2023 is open to visitors through 20 May. The expo is taking place in the sport complex Minsk Arena. It is open from 10:00 till 18:00 (till 15:00 on Saturday). Over 100 specialized organizations from Belarus and other countries are taking part in the expo. Over 20 official delegations from over 30 countries are expected to attend the expo. There are plans to hold conferences and forums on military technology cooperation in the area of defense and security within the framework of MILEX 2023.