2008: Belarus and Russia have agreed to
unite their air defense systems. This was announced as an effort to halt NATO
aggression. 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. While Russia would like Belarus to "rejoin"
the "Russian Federation" (the official name for Russia), the
Belarusians rather enjoy their independence (after many centuries of forcible
incorporation into Russia). But in order to keep getting cut-rate oil and gas
from Russia, Belarus goes along with these joint defense deals.
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.
also received 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.