In addition to its powerful air defense capabilities, the small country of Belarus also has a respectable military deterrent

The OTR-21 Tochka uses a Single-stage Solid-fuel rocket, which makes the missile easy to maintain and deploy. The missiles are deployed from launchers mounted on mobile trucks, making them difficult to track and disable, and allowing the combat group to quickly move out of positions after firing. The OTR-21 has a top speed of around Mach 5.3, which is difficult to intercept. Belarus is also currently deploying about 60 older Scud-B ballistic missiles.

Although these missiles are not technically air combat systems, the missile itself can be used for precise strikes on enemy tactical targets, such as control posts, bridges, storage facilities, troop concentrations and airfields. The fragmentation warhead can be replaced with a nuclear, biological or chemical warhead, makes them potentially decisive weapons in an air war.

OTR-21 Tochka
OTR-21 Tochka

Another powerful weapon of the Belarusian Air Force is the MiG-29 medium fighter, which is the core force of the Belarusian fighter squadron. The MiG-29 was chosen over the heavier Su-27, MiG-25PD and Su-24M, because of its versatility and lower operating costs.

The main disadvantage of the Mig-29 compared to its rivals is its relatively short range, which limits the fighter’s attack potential. But the MiG-29 outperformed many of its competitors in flight performance and benefited from upgrades to avionics, electronic warfare and weapons systems. One of the most notable upgrades of the Belarusian Mig-29 is compatibility with the R-77 air-to-air missile. The R-77 has a longer range, fully active radar guidance, and superior electronic warfare countermeasures.

Belarus also owns 21 Su-27 fighters, currently in combat reserve. While the Su-27 was considered more advanced than the MiG-29, this fighter has been left on the ground, because of its much higher operating costs and fuel consumption.

Finally, there are Belarusian Mi-24P attack helicopters, currently deployed with an estimated 12 units. Inherited from the Soviet era, the Mi-24 is one of the most widely used flying vehicles, and has been proven on the battlefield. The Mi-24P version is equipped with a 30mm twin-barreled automatic cannon fixed to the side of the helicopter. In addition, it is armed with modern standard rocket and missile systems.

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