Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko reaffirmed Belarus' peaceful policy and resolution to defend national interests. The head of state made the statement at a session of the Security Council while discussing the Military Doctrine of Belarus on January 22. Alexander Lukashenko stressed that there are no direct military threats to Belarus.
Alexander Lukashenko said that the analysis of the present-day situation requires adjustments to the country's national security approaches, including in the military sector.
In his words, last year the Defence Minister was tasked to explore all options of possible response with the use of force to contemporary threats taking into account the long-term forecast and reflect this in the new edition of the Military Doctrine, which was accomplished.
The military-political leadership of the country increased its activity in strengthening the combat power of the Belarusian army. The main efforts of the Ministry of Defence are focused on purchasing new weapons and military equipment, as well as on the modernization of existing ones.
And this process went far beyond the priorities outlined last year: the Air Force and Air Defense Forces, MTR and the development of UAVs. In order to increase the combat capabilities of units, the Ministry of Defence purchased new aircraft, upgraded radar systems and communications systems.
Now it is time for the tanks’ modernization. According to the plans of the military leadership of Belarus, specialists have already started to implement a phased modernization of all T-72B that are in service. T-72B – the main battle tank of the Belarusian army, numbers more than 400 tanks. Their modernization will allow bringing tank units to a new level.
Last year the 140th Repair Plant, one of the main enterprises of Belarus’ Goskomvoenprom, demonstrated its own program of deep modernization of T-72B - "Vityaz". Obviously, the modernization of the Belarusian tanks will be made in Belarus - it is much cheaper and more reliable. Moreover, it is known that the first tanks "Vityaz" left the assembly line, and were tested in the units in the course of combat training. They showed a very high efficiency.
What's new in the Belarusian version of T-72?
Belarusian defense industry has made fundamental changes in the fire control system. It is, first of all, the installation of modern fire control system with multi-channel gunner's sight "Sosna-U", automatic target tracking, PNK-4S-01 observation and sighting system. These changes allow the gunner to search and defeat the target using the cannon and coaxial machine gun in the "Double" regime at any time, in any weather.
In addition, the tank is enhanced by an anti-aircraft machine gun that allows to defeat more effectively the air and ground targets from the crew compartment of the tank at a distance of up to 1600 meters.
Combat capability and survivability of tank is significantly increased due to the use of new complex of active protection "Barrier" and dynamic protection "Knife".
"Vityaz" is also equipped with new digital radio stations R-181-50VU "Rhapsody" and navigation system (GLONASS/GPS). The ergonomic characteristics are also improved.
At the same time the modernization of the tanks is only partial, primarily due to the fact, that changes have not touched the engine, automatic loader and gun.
A somewhat different story is in using dynamic protection system "Knife" and active protection system "Barrier" of the Ukrainian production for "Vityaz". It may seem illogical, that Minsk, the closest ally of Moscow, uses the Ukrainian military technology against the background of extremely tense relations between Russia and Ukraine.
Probably, this approach was due to the overpriced Russian dynamic protection "Relic". At the same time, according to Ukrainian experts, Belarus-Ukrainian contract for the supply of dynamic protection involves subsequent transferring of production technology, which will significantly improve the capacity of the domestic defense industry and enhance its export potential.
As for the "Barrier", that was criticized by Russian experts, it should be said that the American experts who conducted their own study of the system, refuted their point of view. Moreover, Russia itself is developing a system of active protection "Afghanit", which is based on the same principles as the "Barrier".
It becomes clear that the military leadership of Belarus, taking the decision to modernize tanks T-72B, came primarily from the economic opportunities of the country, leaving aside political ambitions.