Investments in Belarusian missile engineering already recouped
The company repaired and upgraded the Buk missile system and developed a new Buk-MB2K placed on the MZKT base and new promising surface-to-air missiles for it.State investments in developing the missile and rocket engineering industry have already been recouped several times thanks to sales of these weapons, BelTA learned from Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry (SAMI) Roman Golovchenko.
The official said: “This is not the kind of money someone talks about or writes about. It was a very wise investment not only on the scale of the national economy but even our defense industry. Besides, the state investments have already been recouped several times thanks to the relevant contracts. This is why one can say precisely that this industry is not a burden for the state.”
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko visited a test facility of the R&D company OKB TSP in Machulishchi, Minsk District on 22 May. The head of state was made familiar with the development of missile and rocket production in Belarus. He was informed about the fulfillment of the government program meant to guide missile production development in Belarus in 2017-2020, about problems and proposals designed to address them.
In Machulishchi the head of state studied promising pieces of armaments. Aleksandr Lukashenko was told about the projects that have already been completed or are underway. These projects have to do with upgrade of existing weapons as well as development and production of competitive and innovative Belarusian weapons. They are in demand in the Belarusian army and have great export prospects.
The head of state was told that the country started assembling Chinese missiles and is developing its own weaponry capable of reaching targets out to 300km in range. So far this project is running behind the schedule. “We need our own missile. If we have to rely on other countries to produce a certain weapon, we should not produce such a weapon. No one will simply give away such a weapon to us. We were lucky to strike a deal with the Chinese; we really appreciate their help. However, we should not depend on anyone anymore,” the president emphasized.
Aleksandr Lukashenko will study new missile prototypes, testing and manufacturing capacities of the company, will inspect missiles and other weapons. The president will be shown multiple rocket launchers, missile systems and robotized machinery.
The head of state gave specific instructions on how to address these issues. Some of them have to do with the improvement of the legal framework and the way Belarus interacts with its partners.
Aleksandr Lukashenko left his signature on Belarus' first surface-to-air missile. It was launched this year from the Buk missile system that was upgraded in Belarus. “I would like to leave my signature on Polonez firing at a 300 km distance,” the Belarusian leader noted referring to the development and testing of this missile system.
In conclusion Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined that the most important thing is to keep going. “If you start off, do not stop. However, money should not be wasted on the way,” the head of state added.
According to Roman Golovchenko, Belarusian rocket engineers secured rather considerable progress over the years. For instance, the effective range of the multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS) Polonez-M has been increased from 200km to 300km. The development of new types of ammunition the MLRS can fire continues. “The work is very complicated. It is already on par with space exploration or aerospace technologies. This is why we are definitely on the right track but we need more time,” the head of the Belarusian defense industry management agency told media.
The air defense missile system Buk-M3 is another serious R&D product. It is not a simple upgrade of the Russian air defense system. “We no longer use the term ‘an upgrade of the Soviet or Russian complex'. It is a purely Belarusian air defense missile system. A guided missile is the main thing the system lacked. The first launches were carried out in February. The missile design is being polished now,” Roman Golovchenko said.
Now Belarusian defense companies are intent on exploring opportunities inherent in the production of the most sophisticated and expensive products: warheads, explosives, fuel and energy materials. “We are in the initial phase for now, but we are moving rather fast. It is the vector we are going to pursue in the next five-year term. I mean we have the hardware and electronics. We will have to come up with energy-intensive military-grade materials,” Roman Golovchenko added.
Founded in 2002, OKB TSP is an innovative R&D company that develops, tests, manufactures, upgrades, repairs and services weapons and military hardware, high-tech dual-use products.