MINSK, 25 October (BelTA) – The optimization of the combat composition and personnel numbers of the Belarusian army is a top priority in efforts to develop the Belarusian army till 2020, BelTA learned from Belarusian Defense Minister Andrei Ravkov on 25 October.
According to the source, in addition to the optimization of the composition and the personnel numbers the army will replace some weapon systems and hardware with modern solutions. The army will also get rid of unwanted weapon systems, units of equipment, ammunition and materiel. Storage facilities will be optimized. Spare premises will be handed over to municipal government agencies. However, the personnel potential will be preserved and staffing levels will be improved.
As part of the optimization campaign efforts are channeled into increasing the combat component, perfecting the organizational and staff structure of command and control bodies and army units. “In the last three years the army strength has not changed and stays within limits set by the head of state – about 65,000 people. Meanwhile, thanks to reducing the support component we've been able to considerably increase the number of personnel and reduce the response time of immediate response units. We are getting rid of duplicate and secondary structures. We have not diminished the combat ability of army units. We have prevented an increase in social tensions in army units, too,” noted Andrei Ravkov.
Speaking about the work to reequip the army, Andrei Ravkov said that since 2016 the Belarusian army has received new military transport helicopters Mi-8MTV-5, combat and training aircraft Yak-130, air defense missile systems Tor-M2, modernized armored personnel carriers BTR-70MB1, combat tanks T-72B3 and T-72B1, light armored vehicles Cayman and V-1. The Belarusian army also acquired new radio warfare and radio reconnaissance solutions, unmanned aerial vehicles, small arms and ammunition, protective gear for army specialists. In H1 2018 the army received 33 new weapon and military hardware products, including a light armored vehicle MZKT, a 120mm mortar 2B23, a reactive infantry mortar RPO PDM-A. Belarusian army units also received over 20,000 weapon units and special hardware units. The Belarusian army continues modernizing combat tanks T-72B up to T-72B3 levels. A contract has been signed with OAO 140 Repair Plant for the delivery of 22 armored vehicles Cayman in 2019.
As part of the government procurement system the Belarusian army has also received modern sniper weapons, personal armor solutions, off-road cars as well as radio warfare systems Torn-8P and Kondor-K. The special operations units of the Belarusian army received a battalion-level set of armored personnel carriers BTR-70MB1, four battalion-level sets of 2B23 Nona-M1 mortars. The 120th Independent Mechanized Brigade received a set of 2S12B mortars based on a Belarusian chassis from MZKT Company. Thanks to efforts to bolster military technology cooperation with China Belarus has received 20 armored cars Dragon. Apart from that, in line with the signed contracts the Belarusian army will receive an air defense missile system battery Tor-M2K, a Yak-130 aircraft simulator, four combat and training aircraft Yak-130, 33 Cayman armored cars, and 32 armored personnel carriers BTR-70MB1 by the end of the year and in H1 2019.
“Due to the presence of modern weapon systems and defense solutions throughout the armed forces the army needs highly trained soldiers. Secondary school education is sometimes not enough,” said Andrei Ravkov.
The Belarusian defense minister met with heads of national mass media at a seminar, which took place in the 51st Guards Artillery Brigade in Osipovichi, Mogilev Oblast on 25 October. The seminar focused on the modern state and development prospects of the Belarusian army. Participants of the seminar were made familiar with living conditions of army personnel and meal standards. Participants of the seminar saw samples of weapons and military hardware.