Belarus Phases Out Russian Warplanes, Radars
Belarus’ Armed Forces will replace a Russian radar station with an indigenous one and get rid of Russian-made Sukhoi Su-27 fighters, Belarusian Defense Minister Yury Zhadobin said on Tuesday.
The Russian P-18 radar station will be replaced with the domestically manufactured Vostok (East) radar, he said.
“Its field trials will be completed in the first half of the year. In the second half, we will put it into operation,” he said.
The Belarusian Armed Forces earlier put the domestically built Rosa radar on alert duty, the minister said.
He did not specify any reason behind the replacement.
Zhadobin also said Belarus will soon decommission its Russian-built Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker fighters.
All of Belarus’ Su-27s have now been grounded. The post-Soviet nation earlier took all of its Sukhoi Su-24 Fullback fighter bombers out of service.
“The Su-24 is an offensive system. Who am I supposed to attack and where? In addition, this aircraft has outlived its usefulness. The decision was made to decommission it,” Zhadobin said.
He said the decision on the Su-27 was not yet final.
“I believe it will be finalized, after all,” he said.
The Belarusian Armed Forces will continue using its Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot and MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, he added.
“This year two [MiG] 29s will be modernized,” the minister said.
While stating that Russia is Belarus’ main strategic partner, he said China is its second most important partner in the defense and technology sector.
“A good deal has been done in the past several years on matters related to cooperation in the defense and technology sectors, personnel training and joint exercises [with China],” the minister said.
Source: MINSK, (RIA Novosti) News - 19 February 2013
Photo: The Belarusian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 Fighter Aircraft (Photo by Max Bryansky)