All forty-four wheels...
Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant confirms ability to produce unique world-class machinery
Recently, the plant modified its MBRP-24-200-1M upgraded mobile platform for rapid deployment: able to lift up to 200kg to a height of 24m, within 15 minutes. Originally designed for the army, the telescopic mast is perfect for installing communication devices, radio-electronic surveillance and optic-electronic systems. In 2014, the platform was recognised as Belarus’ best military export, being in great demand.
At the assembly workshop at Wheeled Tractor PlantThe enterprise is now preparing to test another novelty: a chassis already used by the military, which utilises the radiolocation station of the modern S-400 air defence missile system (part of the Iskander tactical ballistic missile system). With an armoured cabin to offer protection under fire, it is in a class of its own.
So far, no other former USSR enterprise in this segment of automobile machinery has managed to develop anything similar. The Minsk Plant has orders lined up until 2018, for military purposes and beyond. Its huge ‘centipedes’ can carry hundreds of tonnes, transporting drilling machinery and other such heavy devices to Russia. This year, eight and ten wheeled traction vehicles and diesel engines meeting EURO-5 international ecological standards are to the fore (the latter produces less pollution, for which foreign customers are willing to pay).
The Minsk Wheeled Tractor Plant was established in Soviet times but retains significance today, as does the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant, based in the city of Baranovichi. Constantly being modernised, it has mastered the repair and remodeling of almost every sort of Russian aircraft, including helicopters, inspiring continued integration with Russian air industry companies.
Sergey Gurulev, the Chairman of the State Military-Industrial Committee, recently spoke of the necessity of liaising with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation JSC. He underlines, “The key goal of this integration is to ensure that the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant produces some air construction elements, for military and civil aviation, including for the Superjet and MS-21.”
Last year, a joint concept of co-operation was developed for Baranovichi’s Aircraft Repair Plant and the Russian Corporation. A technical-and-economic study has been prepared on how best to integrate this major Russian company into a Belarusian JSC but yet lacks approval from the Belarusian President. However, according to Mr. Gurulev, a consolidated Russian-Belarusian joint production programme has been prepared, to run until 2025. Prospects are evident, including mastery of the maintenance of some Su aircraft, serviced by the Russian army.
Other developments aim to unite the best achievements of high technologies. The State Military-Industrial Committee is developing its own pilotless aircraft, able to conduct reconnaissance of the enemy and produce radio-electronic counteraction. Meanwhile, improved models of the Grif-100, Berkut-1 and Berkut-2 are to be tested.
Only a handful of developed states are yet able to solve such tasks, and double-purpose military machinery remains high on the agenda for Russian and Belarusian defence enterprises. It’s logical to unite efforts, with Belarus already taking part in Russia’s state defence orders as a mediator or sub-contractor. The establishment of the Union State only offers more possibilities for closer contacts in this strategically important sphere.
By Vladimir Yakovlev