Aleksandr Lukashenko visits 61st fighter airbase of Belarusian air force and air defense troops 

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The combat readiness of the Belarusian Armed Forces will be tested soon. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he summarized results of the visit to the 61st fighter airbase of the Belarusian air force and air defense troops.

During the inspection the Belarusian President was informed about combat duty procedures at the Armed Forces in general and at the airbase in particular, as well as about prospects to build up and expand the Belarusian air force and air defense.

The head of state toured the facilities and checked the readiness of duty crews to perform combat missions.

After a command was given, the duty crew scrambled the MiG-29 fighter within a specified amount of time.

The head of state said that the readiness of duty crews to perform combat missions had been tested during the visit. “I wanted to check whether duty aircraft are prepared for missions as window dressing or not. It turns out that an aircraft can be on the runway, taxiing to take off within six minutes and a half,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko. In his words, 18 minutes is the time limit for the same actions in Russia, it is about 15 minutes in Ukraine and Poland.

Deputy Head of the Air Force And Air Defense of Belarus Igor Golub delivered a report about aircrafts deployed in the air force and air defense troops, their condition, amortization and further operation prospects. Aleksandr Lukashenko was shown a promising sample of the Yak-130 aircraft.

Taking into consideration that the Armed Forces seek to expand the use of unmanned aerial complexes, the President was shown the drones that are already used by the Belarusian army as well as unmanned aerial complexes made in Belarus. Representatives of the general staff of the air force and air defense and the defense industries briefed the President on the performance characteristics and application of the displayed samples of unmanned aerial vehicles.

The inspection concluded with a meeting at the mobile strategic command center of the Armed Forces.

The President heard out a report by Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin about the state of affairs in the air force and air defense and combat support of the Armed Forces. At the end of the meeting the President took stock of the inspection of the airbase.

In his words, many nations across the globe now modernize and restore their weaponry because buying new hardware is an expensive proposition.

“For instance, the T-72 tank is a good one that is still in use and will be in use for a long time. Why buy a new one when you can restore and modernize your old one? We can do all of that in Belarus. We have a factory in good condition. We can modernize aircraft and helicopters. Therefore, they are part of the hardware on display,” stressed the President. As for reconnaissance and communication systems, Belarus can make state-of-the-art products.

According to the President, unmanned aerial vehicles are the future. “And we can make them already,” specified Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The President also said: “Today we have also talked about how many military camps Belarus needs now (there are about 250 of them at present), how many bases like this one we need”.

“In field conditions we have tried to take a look at our army and what it should look like tomorrow, at what cost. We have virtually made the decision except for some minor matters,” noted Aleksandr Lukashenko.

The President noted that in view of the experience of the wars along the Arab curve there is no need for the Belarusian army to decommission certain kinds of military hardware in a rush. “Do we need Su-27 as a powerful and expensive aircraft? I’ve spoken in favor of thinking it over and preserving these aircraft for some period of threat regardless of the costs,” stressed Aleksandr Lukashenko.