Posted: 24.05.2023 13:45:00

Defence from a comprehensive perspective

MILEX 2023 impressed with its scale: 500 samples, 7900 square metres of exposition area and over 30 foreign participating companies

Our country can demonstrate all this even in the face of unprecedented pressure from the collective West on Belarus and its partners in the field of military-technical co-operation. The national defence industry is moving at a fast pace: out of 500 vehicles, systems, instruments and equipment sets deployed at the 11th international arms and defence technology expo MILEX 2023 in Minsk Arena, 144 are brand new and are being shown for the first time, while another 64 have been modernised by Belarusian specialists. At the same time, there is no doubt about the combat capability of the new products, because our engineers studied the experience of world armed conflicts in order to improve certain indicators, moreover, the samples were assembled from Belarusian components — this is an ideal option in the context of import substitution.

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko,

“Minsk is once again hosting the representative forum which provides a unique opportunity to see the best examples of military and dual-use products not only for professionals but also for a wide range of audiences. This time, the international arms salon is held in the year when the State Authority for Military Industry marks 20. Therefore, the Belarusian section will showcase the most advanced samples of the domestic defence sector made with the use of high technologies and artificial intelligence, and also innovative civilian products that have been manufactured due to the diversification of some industries.”

During greetings to the participants and guests of the 11th edition of the international arms and defence technology expo MILEX 2023 on May 17th, 2023

Shkval multiple launch rocket system

Deliver the most accurate, fast and powerful strike — these are the characteristics without which no modern weapon can exist today. The Grad MLRS remained the leader among such weapons for a long time. This system appeared back in the USSR and after that it became known to the whole world, because it replaces several howitzers and can eliminate an entire enemy unit. Belarusian engineers took a step further and brought the Grad to perfection. The Shkval multiple launch rocket system, developed by Volatavto, is just the same equipment.
“In this system, everything except the chassis (they are Russian-made) is made in our country. One of its advantages is an automated targeting system that reduces human errors to zero. Moreover, guidance is carried out directly from the cockpit, which is very safe in an armed conflict. The equipment, like Grad, can use all 122 mm calibre ammunition at a distance of over 40 kilometres. The reduction in the execution time of the fire mission is another advantage. According to the latest tests, it will take 2 minutes 46 seconds from the moment the target coordinates are received,” Volatavto engineer Dmitry Lapko explained.


 The upgraded T-72BM2 tank was also presented at the MILEX 2023 exhibition for the first time. It was this tank that was shown to the President of Belarus in October 2022, when Aleksandr Lukashenko visited the Obuz-Lesnovsky training ground in the Brest Region. Then the Head of State demanded more active modernisation of the tanks in service. The T-72BM2 is indeed an indispensable comrade in battle. It can fire more efficiently than its predecessor, due to the installation of a multi-channel gunner’s sight, which allows day and night to hit the enemy with a 125 mm cannon using armour-piercing sub-calibre, high-explosive fragmentation and cumulative projectiles, as well as guided missiles.
“Compared to the standard T-72B, its autonomy and security have also been increased. The commander and gunner can fire, they have the ability to work independently with the weapon system. Due to autonomy, the resource of the main engine is preserved, the maintainability of the machine is increased,” the representative of the 140th Repair Plant said.
The television and thermal imaging surveillance devices installed here also help to hit the target. Armour is a special advantage of the T-72BM2: dynamic protection of the hull and turret, anti-cumulative screens in the stern will reliably protect the crew, components and assemblies of the vehicle.

Chekan и Lovchiy

 Unmanned aerial vehicles are the weapons of the 21st century. This small-sized equipment today is capable of performing any task in combat: from reconnaissance to delivering crushing blows. Therefore, it is fair to say that drones have become a headache for the military around the world in the last couple of years. In Belarus, they not only know how to successfully eliminate ‘enemy’ drones, but also produce their own. The two newest models demonstrated at MILEX 2023 are 1UBAK-25 Chekan and 1UBAK-70 Lovchiy of the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant. “Chekan is a disposable strike system, a kamikaze drone. It can strike at a video capture or at a pre-entered coordinate within a radius of 25 kilometres. Inside is a high-explosive fragmentation warhead, and the UAV is launched from a catapult. This model is in high demand today.
Therefore, we have practically completed the main tests and are engaged in the development of its mass production,” head of the GT department for UAV of the enterprise Viktor Borodin said.
 Lovchiy is a reusable device that can both conduct reconnaissance and strike. Its control radius is 70 kilometres, it is equipped with a laser rangefinder, a thermal imager and other optics that allow one to accurately determine the target. In addition, the drone can be in the air for up to seven hours! The blow is delivered with anti-tank aerial bombs, and it can drop eight shells at a time. The company plans to develop a small-sized bomb for this device. Remarkably, both UAVs are completely domestically assembled.

State Secretary of the Belarusian Security Council Aleksandr Volfovich, 
“The defence industry has become one of the most important and high-technology sectors of the economy. In the context of the unprecedented economic and political sanctions, the products of the national defence sector are competitive and in demand on the international arms market. Belarus pursues a policy of good-neighbourliness, openness and mutual trust. MILEX 2023 features the best achievements of our country’s military science.”

Defence Minister Lieutenant General Viktor Khrenin, 
“It is noteworthy that parameters of many products of the Belarusian defence industry are on par with well-known world analogues. Most of the products on display at the expo are already in service with the Belarusian army. A number of them are going through trials. Over 5,500 units of various weapon systems, military and special hardware were bought and shipped to the army last year. At the same time, over 500 units of new models of weapons and military hardware were supplied by Belarusian manufacturers alone.”

According to tradition, the exhibition had an extensive business programme in addition to the demonstration of weapons. Its key event was the 10th international scientific conference on military technology co-operation in the area of defence and security, the use of dual-use technologies MILEX.INNOVATIONS 2023, which was attended by 150 experts from the defence sector of the economy in various areas and aspects of the development of the military-industrial complex. They studied the issues of creating systems to counter high-precision weapons, electronic warfare, radio, electronic and radar intelligence, considered the development and modernisation of weapons and modern trends in military medicine and pharmacology.
In addition, a joint meeting of the leaders and members of the national parts of the Interstate Commission on Military-Economic Co-operation of the CSTO and the Business Council at the CSTO MKVEC was held within the framework of the exhibition with the participation of the Council of the Collegium of the Military-Industrial Commission of the Russian Federation on issues of military-economic (technical) co-operation in the CSTO format.

By Maria Krushevskaya
Photos by Aleksandr Kulevsky, Aleksandr Kushner