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14 Nov 2019

Zas: Purchase of Su-30SM fighter jets is part of Belarus Air Force rearming effort

Zas: Purchase of Su-30SM fighter jets is part of Belarus Air Force rearming effort
Stanislav Zas . An archive photo

MINSK, 14 November (BelTA) – The purchase of the Su-30SM fighter jets has paved the way for gradual rearming of Belarus’ Air Force, State Secretary of Belarus’ Security Council Stanislav Zas told the STV channel, BelTA has learned.

The first two Su-30SM fighter jets purchased from Russia landed in Belarus on 13 November. According to Stanislav Zas, that was a historical day for the Belarusian Armed Forces and an important event for the entire country. “For the first time in the history of independent Belarus we will provide our Air Force with new, modern, multi-functional fighter jets Su-30SM. This day is remarkable also because it marks the beginning of the gradual transition of the Air Force to new types of jets,” Stanislav Zas said.

According to him, the time was ripe for rearming the Air Force a long time ago. “In fact, although the MiG-29 jet fighter aircraft are quite efficient even today, their capacities have been nearly exhausted by now. If they remain in operation, it will be technically impossible to repair and keep using them. Therefore, we badly needed new jets,” he explained.

“At first we approached Russia for assistance in addressing this very complicated and costly task. In response, they suggested deploying their air force base in our territory. That was not what we sought for. The deployment of an air force base in our country does not help address the task of improving our own combat aviation. Therefore, we decided to rely on our own resources,” Stanislav Zas said. He noted that the head of state, the Commander-In-Chief was actively involved in the process from the very beginning. “To be fair, we would not be able to tackle this issue without his direct involvement and support,” the state secretary underlined.

The funds to purchase the Su-30SM fighter jets were earmarked by the Defense Ministry a long time ago. A lot of work has been done to retrain pilots, technicians and adjust the infrastructure.

BelTA reported earlier that the contract to buy these aircraft was signed in 2017. In line with the contract the Russian manufacturer was supposed to deliver the first wing of four Su-30SM fighter jets to Belarus in 2019. The contract was signed in order to renew the aircraft fleet. The Belarusian army intends to buy a total of 12 fighter jets.

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