By Grigory Nikonov
Contemporary military technologies enable us to make a tank invisible or commit sabotage with a single, small pilotless aircraft. These and other achievements by Belarusian designers, scientists and engineers have been on display at the 6th International MILEX-2011 Exhibition of Arms and Military Machinery.
This year, the scale of the military forum has been impressive, with 1,800sq.m occupied by military exhibits in the roofed pavilion, in addition to an even larger open-air site. 150 enterprises from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Armenia presented their developments, while military specialists from 16 states — including China, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan — took interest.
What were the surprises of MILEX-2011? One of the latest achievements is the ‘Caracal’ antitank missile system. This armoured vehicle, with a missile unit on the roof, can attack a tank, motor boat or low flying helicopter. The innovation boasts a maximum firing range of 5,500m, in addition to anti-radar armour and cross-country capacity. It has plenty of advantages, the biggest being that it is a domestic development, presented by Beltech Holding.
Foreign delegations closely examined pilotless aircraft created by the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant JSC. The device can remain up to eight hours in the air while patrolling enemy territory, with no need to refuel and remaining invisible to ordinary radar.
“Similar aircraft are manufactured in other countries, but ours is cheaper. We currently have only a trial model, but serial production will be established by the end of the year,” note representatives of the plant. “Our guaranteed sales markets cover Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, the Middle East and Africa.”
Belspetsvneshtekhnika presented a wide range of military equipment, compatible with weaponry made in the Soviet Union and Russia, as well as that meeting NATO standards.
An armoured notebook was presented by the Scientific Research Institute of Electronic Machines (NIIEM). Although vulnerable to a direct strike, it is resistant to other blows and can endure extreme climatic conditions. In the hands of an enemy, it is resistant to hacking, having a special chip, as its developers assert. It costs $6,000-8,000, with four already dispatched to customers.
“MILEX is one of the most significant exhibitions held in Belarus. Over the past decade, it has gained a reputation as a serious international forum,” notes Sergei Rumas, Belarus’ Deputy Prime Minister. “MILEX is a vital marketing instrument, promoting the establishment and development of business relations while stimulating the manufacture of goods and the creation of a favourable investment climate. Organisation of such a major specialised event is guided by our desire to present potential customers with a wide range of defence goods able to worthily compete against those of foreign rivals.”