The Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus consist of the Ground Forces, the Air, and Air Defence Forces, all under the command of the Republic of Belarus Ministry of Defence. Belarus has no navy.

Belarus conducted military reforms in the 2000s which have reshaped its armed forces as a relatively effective force for a small state in somewhat difficult economic conditions. In 2017 the IISS estimated that personnel in the armed forces numbered 48,000. Most soldiers are conscripts serving for a period of 18 months, although there is an alternative service option.

 

Structure of the Army in Belarus

The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Belarus has been supported by Central Command Support Elements and the General Staff of the Armed Forces. Combat Support Elements of the Armed Forces included Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, Engineer, Signals, NBC Defence, Navigation and Topography, and Maintenance organisations. Logistic Elements of the Armed Forces provided Material Support, Logistic Support, Medical Support, Veterinarian Support, and Military Construction.

In 1995 the Military Academy of Belarus was set up on the basis of two military educational institutions – the Minsk Air Defence and Rocket School of the Soviet Air Defence Forces and the Minsk Higher Military Command School. Its 10 departments train officers of 38 specialties for practically all arms of service. Also in 1995, it was given the status of a government institution of secondary special military education for young men.

 

Air forces of Belarus

Air forces in 2007 the Air Force and Air Defence Force of Belarus (AF & ADF) consisted of 18,170 personnel (two fighter/interceptor bases, four FGA/reconnaissance squadrons, one transport air base, training aircraft, and attack and support helicopters, SAM units). Air Force equipment included in 2004 260 fighter-ground attack/training aircraft and 80 attack helicopters. The Air Forces now have two commands, the Western Operational-Tactical Command and the North-Western Operational-Tactical Command.

 

Special forces of Belarus

The Special Forces of Belarus is the airmobile and strategic deterrence force. It has been a participant in conflicts such as the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and the Libyan Civil War (2011).

 

Transport Troops

The Belarusian Transport Troops is responsible for the movement of personnel and material by truck, rail, and air. It is also designed to carry the tasks of the transport support of the military formations from other service branches. General leadership is exercised by the Minister of Defense, while direct control is carried out by the Head of the Transport Support Department, a position that reports directly to the President.

 

Territorial Forces

The Territorial Forces are a homeland defence organization in the armed forces. It is managed by the Department of the Territorial Forces, being a support department of the Ministry of Defence of Belarus and is operated by the General Staff. It is currently located on Kommunisticheskaya Street in Minsk. The current head of the department of territorial forces is Colonel Andrei Paseko.

The Territorial Defence system was established in the early 2000s. Over 120,000 troops constitute the size of the Territorial Forces, which is twice as much as it serves in the regular duty military. President Alexander Lukashenko on 18 February 2016, announced the allocation of arms and to the territorial forces and the minimum and maximum amount of district troops ranging from one company and a battalion. The personnel of these units is recruited from residents of their respective administrative-territorial regions.

 

Internal Troops

The Internal Troops were formed from the former Soviet Internal Troops after the collapse of the Soviet Union. They consist of three independent brigades and seven independent battalions (consecutively numbered). Among the Internal Troop formations is the 3rd Red Banner separate special purpose Brigade (V/Ch 3214, located in Minsk, in the district Uruchcha, “Uruchenskaya Brigade”). This brigade performs crowd control, combating terrorism tasks, and can assist border guards in case of complications. In addition, the brigade has been training for combined arms operations in the event of armed conflict. It was formed in the 1990s on the base of the 334th Regiment of the 120th ‘Rogachev’ Guards Motor Rifle Division.

 

Military commandants

The military commandants of the Armed Forces of Belarus are regional administrations tasked with overseeing Belarusian regiments in the commandant’s territory. Units are assigned to a specific commandant based on their location. There are 6 military commandants in the Belarusian Armed Forces.

 

Border Guard Service

The Border Guard Service is the paramilitary force of the State Border Committee of the Republic of Belarus. It covers the borders with Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and Latvia.

 

Equipment

The military forces of Belarus are almost exclusively armed with Soviet-era equipment inherited from the Soviet Union. Although large in numbers, some Western experts consider some of it outdated.

The Belarusian State Authority for Military Industry of the Republic of Belarus (SAMI) holds a leading position in ensuring the national security and defense capacity of the state, in the implementation of its innovation and foreign economic policy. SAMI was created by the Belarusian President’s Decree of 30 December 2003. State Authority for Military Industry of the Republic of Belarus was designed to keep the potential inherited by the Republic of Belarus from the Soviet defence industry. Then the trends for this were clearly observed.

During this short period from a historical viewpoint, the Belarusian State Authority for Military Industry passed the stages of formation and development when the number of tasks continuously increased. SAMI has ensured the state’s military security and the growing needs of the Belarusian Armed Forces in equipping with state-of-the-art weapons (systems), and also the implementation of intergovernmental agreements in the field of military-technical cooperation.