Air Defense: Belarus Works Venezuela


p> March 27, 2008: Venezuela has hired Belarus to build an air defense system for them. Belarus has the credentials. They still operate several of the Soviet era air-defense schools, and many Soviet era air defense installations. Two years ago, Belarus received 24 Russian S-300 missile systems. Roughly equivalent to the U.S. Patriot, S-300 was known as the SA-10 to NATO, when the system first appeared in the early 1980s. S-300 missiles weigh 1.8 tons each and are 26 feet long and about 20 inches in diameter. The missiles have a range of some 200 kilometers and can hit targets as high as 100,000 feet. The missile has a 320 pound warhead. Belarus and Russia have integrated their air defenses, mainly to give Russia more "depth" in case of an attack from the west.

Of all the former communist nations in Europe, Belarus is the only one still run by its Soviet era officials. Basically it's a police state, and very tight with Russia. In 2006, Venezuela said that it was interested in buying S-300 systems from Russia. Venezuela has since ordered shorter range Tor M-1 system. Known to NATO as the SA-15 Gauntlet, the Tor-M1 has a maximum range of 12 kilometers. It is only effective up to 6,000 meters altitude. The system was designed as a successor to the SA-N-8 Gecko. Each launcher carries eight missiles, and it is claimed to be capable of engaging two targets simultaneously. The system was designed to be a tactical battlefield air-defense system, designed to take out close-air-support planes like the A-10 or tactical fighter-bombers like the F-4, F-16, and F-18.

Now Belarussians will help install and operate these missiles, along with the communications systems needed to create a national air defense system.

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