The Clear Sky

Over 500 personnel are on duty to protect the Belarusian sky

Tomorrow is the Day of the Air force and Air defense force

Rain or shine, every 24 hours over 500 military and civil personnel are on duty to protect the Belarusian sky, daily following more than 400 aircraft, flying over territory of our country, according to commander of the Air Force and Air defense force general-major Dmitri Pakhmelkin.

The interaction of Air defense forces has been and remains one of the most important areas of cooperation between Belarus and Russia in the military sphere. To ensure regional security, the Belarusians and Russians are constantly enhancing capabilities of the Unified air defense system of the two states. It is expected to become a basis for creation of the CSTO Aerospace Defense force in future.

Constant attention is paid to modernization of weapons and introduction of new technologies. The newest, having no analogues in the world «Tor-M2» anti-aircraft missile system entered service in the 120th anti-aircraft missile brigade last December.

The «Bor», «Polyana-RB», «Rif-R» automated control systems have been developed and delivered to the military by domestic enterprise. The development of the newest «Plissa», «Glissada», «Prostor» airborne radar surveillance systems is being completed. Work is underway to further upgrade the MiG-29 aircraft to enhance its anti-high precision weapons protection.

A possibility of buying new multifunctional aviation complexes is being considered. The «Rosa-RB», a radar of the next generation, is in trial operation. The modernized «P-18 BM» and «PRV-16 BM» radars began to enter the army. It is planned to improve the means of early warning of the «S-300», which will increase the accuracy characteristics, the level of protection against active and passive interference, reliability of these stations to the level of a modern radar. Most importantly, almost all the upgrading work is carried out by the Belarusian enterprises.

More than 300 training exercises for the personnel involving scientists and specialists concerned are scheduled this year in order to improve technical skills to operate this equipment.

On the eve of the Air defense Day our reporters visited the units directly involved in protecting the airspace of Belarus from intruders.

The 61st Air Force Fighter and Air Defense Base is equipped with front-line MiG-29 fighters and SU-27 heavy fighters, designed to gain air superiority, the airbase commander, Colonel Alexander Potekhin, told.

Major Andrei Plekhnevich, a third-class pilot and deputy commander of the 3rd Squadron, flies the MiG-29. He has piloted the glider, and the Yak-52, and the L-39 as well, and according to him the MiG-29 is much more maneuverable and high-speed machine.

-- The main thing is that the plane is not capricious, she forgives some irregularities in speed and altitude, - Andrei said. - Flights are carried out every day by experienced and young pilots as well. In reality, it takes a year for all the young officers to be retrained and receive admission to fly the MiG-29.

In 2009, Andrei Plekhnevich flew to the military training ground in Ashuluk, Astrakhan, where he fulfilled guided-missiles shooting training.

The Deputy Commander of the aviation link, the captain Nikolai Melekh is also a third-class pilot.

- I’m planning to accumulate the necessary flying time in 2 years and become a second-class pilot. - Nikolai said. - I like flying the MIG, it’s a reliable aircraft. The Glonass system provides comfortable orientation, and one can get the coordinates adjustment from the sputnik.

The peace and clarity of the Belarusian sky is kept by the missilemen of the 120 brigade. The brigade Commander, the colonel, Roman Goncharenko, told about the unique capabilities of the Tor-M2 complex.

- There are no arms like these in any country of the world, - Roman Vasilievich said. -  The Tor has no match at guided airbomb destruction. The system destroys both low-flying cruise missiles and sea-based missiles. It deals with anything flying above 10 metres no matter rounding the earth’s surface. A battery can strike 16 targets at the same time. We are expecting one more consignment of Tors coming this year to make up a division.

The Belarusian officers have been instructed at the producer-factory in Russia. For example, the lieutenant Aleksander Kudryashov, the Commander of the Tor-M2 battery, was instructed in Izhevsk. Further, he was taught to operate the Buk system in the Military Academy.

The reporters had a look at the automated command post of the 8th radio-engineering brigade as well. The head of the command, captain Aleksei Meshuev, explained, that the container can be set on automobile chassis in 20-25 minutes and moved quickly in the desired direction.

Rif allows to radar-track 250 targets simultaneously. The complex has by far increased a fighting ability of the battalion. This is one of the last developments by the Belarusian scientists. Rif is an emergency mobile command post of a company. It is easily mastered by everyone with a higher military education. Both the conscript and contractor soldiers can operate it. Rif covers the radius of 1200 km and work the altitude of 43 km.

The command post of the radio battalion is run in shifts, or duties, one shift being a day long. The head of the shift is the combat crew and the duty officer. There are about 25 person monitoring the Belarusian sky the clock around.

The duty officer,  lieutenant Aleksander Nerush graduated from the State Higher Aviation College in Minsk. He has served in the brigade for 5 years and held his post for 3 years.

«We pass the sky data to the control group, which has the whole knowledge about aircraft, routes, directions and altitudes. If we give them a not-on-the-list plane, the emergency is called. – Aleksander Nerush explained. - If it is a violator, the fighters from the 61th airbase are ready to take off in order to identify the object. For instance, once we saw a probe and gave information to the control group. The other time we discovered a hang glider flying without permission, and searched for the pilot. Fortunately, the situation ended well».

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