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14 January 2021, 17:20

Air force, air defense exercise in progress in Belarus

MINSK, 14 January (BelTA) – The army will carry out any mission to preserve the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty. Chief of the Air Force and Air Defense Command of the Armed Forces of Belarus, Major-General Igor Golub made the statement during a joint exercise involving various service branches and special forces of the Air Force and Air Defense Command on 14 January, BelTA has learned.

The officer said: “Yesterday I instructed commanding officers of army units to bring their units to a higher readiness state. They were instructed to move to designated locations and protect specified installations against the simulated enemy's aerial assault. The task has been accomplished. The units marched to the designated areas and established positions. Today these units will have to handle a test of reference targets. Our Air Force units have created a complicated aerial environment. We are using three stationary airfields and two operational ones. More than ten targets are in the air. Every army unit has to take care of aerial defense of the specified installation.”

In his words, the current exercise has a number of peculiarities. The army units practice fighting low-altitude low-speed air targets such as flying drones and balloon probes in conditions of radio jamming. “We have to teach our combat units how to operate in the environment we've created for them. Balloons are used as aerial targets in the exercise areas. Air Force units are dispatched to work on them. In the past the units were instructed to detect and escort the targets. Now the targets have to be destroyed,” the officer said. “Another peculiarity is that the troops have to constantly change their combat positions. Once a unit sees a target and shoots it, it has to change its position. We've analyzed strong and weak points that had been revealed during combat operations in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh and put this experience to use.”

Igor Golub noted it is the first time new and modernized weapon systems, military and special hardware have been deployed. For instance, the automation complex Prostor was commissioned in late 2020. It has greatly improved the ability to control subordinate army units, detect and escort all aerial targets. Apart from that, a radar station Sopka is used in the course of interaction between the 61st Fighter Airbase and combat crews of Su-30SM jet fighters.

The officer added that this year the army intends to commission the radar stations Protivnik-G and Vostok. Contracts on supplying multirole fighter helicopters Mi-35 and another batch of Su-30SM jet fighters have been signed already. Apart from that, pre-contract work continues on replacing S-300 air defense missile systems with S-400 and Pantsir-S systems. “Meanwhile, as part of combat work we use onboard defense systems, which help with active jamming, in a test mode for now in order to protect attack aircraft and helicopters against the weapons that may be used against them,” Igor Golub said.

“Hardware is one thing. The most important thing is our personnel and their morale. I am ready to assure you that all the military personnel stand united around our commander-in-chief and are ready to carry out any mission in order to preserve the territorial integrity of our country, the inviolability of the air border, and our sovereignty,” Igor Golub concluded.

The experience the personnel will accumulate will be used during the Belarusian-Russian joint operational army exercise Zapad 2021.

Columns of military vehicles and special ones are supposed to travel from their permanent stations to exercise areas and back on 13-15 January.

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