A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Vitaly V. Kuzmin)

Russia forwards extra Flankers to Belarus

A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Vitaly V. Kuzmin)
A Russian Air Force Sukhoi Su-27 (Image © Vitaly V. Kuzmin)

LATEST UPDATE 17 MARCH 2014 | On request by the Belarus leadership Russia deployed six additional Sukhoi Su-27 (Flanker) fighter jets plus three unspecified transport aircraft to its western neighbour. According to the Russian Ministry of Defence a Beriev/Ilyshin A-50 Mainstay AWACS was added just before the weekend, probably as a reaction to NATO’s AWACS patrols on the other side of the border.

The Belarus Ministry of Defence confirmed the A-50 operates from Baranavichy, while the other extra Russian aircraft deployed to Bobruisk Airbase on 13 March 2014, officially to hold joint exercises with the Belarus air force. The Belarus Ministry of Defence says the purpose is “to test the readiness of the united regional air defence system as a whole with the involvement of her Russian component”. But it added: “In case of further build-up of troops in neighbouring states of the territory of Belarus, adequate response measures will be taken.” Thereby Belarus makes a clear signal to NATO and the United States. The USAFE sent 12 F-16s to Poland and 6 F-15s plus a KC-135 to Lithuania in response of Russian actions at the Crimea peninsula and the Russian large-scale readiness exercise.

To support the Belarus military there is already a permanent Russian military deployment at Baranavichy Airbase. AIRheads↑Fly received some conflicting reports lately about the status of the Russian-made fighter jets of Belarus. The latest is that the Belarusian Air Force’s decommissioned Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer bombers will be put back into action, but it is not certain weather this is for a possible sale or recommissioning.

© 2014 AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger

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Bobruisk Airbase, Belarus | View Larger Map