Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer-D of the Belarusian Air Force (Ross AFB) at Radom-Sadków airfield, Air Show 2009 (Image © Bartek Kozłowiec)

Belarus restores Su-24s, but for whom?

Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer-D of the Belarusian Air Force (Ross AFB) at Radom-Sadków airfield, Air Show 2009 (Image © Bartek Kozłowiec)
Sukhoi Su-24M Fencer-D of the Belarusian Air Force (Ross AFB) at Radom-Sadków airfield, Air Show 2009 (Image © Bartek Kozłowiec)

We at AIRheads↑Fly receive some conflicting reports lately about the status of the Russian-made fighter jets of Belarus. The latest: Belarusian Air Force’s decommissioned Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer bombers will be put back into action. Question is, by or for whom?

Russian media report on 7 March 2014 that Moscow has given the green light for the transfer of military goods to start restoring and repairing Su-24s (Су-24) in Belarus. Thing is, those aircraft were decommissioned more than a year ago, with 12 aircraft sold to the Sudanese Air Force in 2013. Technically that leaves 21 Fencers still available.

Some of those will now get new digital displays and the PNS-24 navigation system, according to a Russian military industry spokesperson. The restoration work is also said to include the Vympel R-27 medium-range air-to-air missiles for the aircraft.

But who will fly the aircraft? The Belarusian defence minister Yury Zhadobin was quoted on 19 February 2013 by Russian press agency RIA Novosti that the Su-24 not only “outlived its usefulness”, it was also useless since it is an offensive system and that he didn’t plan to attack anybody.

Apparently the Belarusian Air Force wants the aircraft after all, or they are being upgraded to be sold as well. Or the strong man in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, Alexander Lukashenko, has overruled the defence minister.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

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