The International Exhibition of Arms and Military Machinery (MILEX 2023) took place at the Minsk Arena premises on 17-20 May. The capital of Belarus hosted the largest military exposition in Eastern Europe for the 11th time.
The exhibition and related conference were organized by the Belarus Ministry of Defense as well as the State Committee on Defense Industry which has just celebrated its 20th Anniversary.
The show ground covered around 18,000 sq.m. indoors and outdoors to home 700 pieces of defense related equipment. The first violin of the quartet was performed by the Republic of Belarus national defense industry, while Russia, PR China and Iran teamed the host. 144 items of the Belarus national exhibits made the international debut while another 64 presented deep upgraded versions of the ex-soviet equipment.
The smart weaponry, military electronics and UAV were the three main aspects of the show. Among the leading exposition was the one from Belspetsvneshtehnika (BSVT), the leading national producer and exporter of the Belarus defense related equipment.
The key object being presented by BSVT for the very first time was the Polonez-M V-300RK missile system which is in serial production by the Minsk-based Electromechanical Precision Plant. The core of the system is the V-300BM combat vehicle on the MZKT-7930-313 8x8 all-terrain chassis. The truck homes 8 missiles in individual containers. The missiles could be of two types: A-200 or A-300 with a minimum/maximum firing range as 5/200 and 120/300 km respectively. The complex division comprises from 6 to 12 combat vehicles as well as the same amount of the transport loading vehicles plus 4-7 combat control vehicles. According to the producers, the missiles can employ various warheads including those of the cassette type with circular deviation between 30 and 45 meters.
The system has been already in service with the Belarus Army. The announced firing range characteristics will allow the system to fill in the gap in the Russian MLRS (around 100 km) and tactical missiles (around 500 km) arsenal.
Among other BSVT novelties one could notice the new Flute MLRS of 80 and 122-mm calibers, a variety of combat drones, including Berserk self-propelled robot system, plus the Sapphire multipurpose grenade launcher. The last weapon has been advertised as an ultimate mean for urban warfare being capable to hit a variety of targets with a unified grenade on distances from 50 to 1,000 m.
Other major players of the Belarus defense industry were Radar (variety of radar stations of different applications), BELOMO-LEMT (combat optronics and night vision), Peleng (optic-electronic systems for various armored vehicles) and VOLAT (various tracks and APC).
Several companies presented a variety of UAV. The team of Beltechexport-UAVHELI presented the helicopter type flying target as well as the Peacekeeper reconnaissance-striking drone. More reconnaissance and attack drones were presented by the 558 Aviation repair plant and the National Academy of Science.
The Russian Federation, the Belarus teammate in the frame work of the United State, presented the second largest national exposition being headed by Rosoboronexport, national defense trader. Other impressive participants were United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), ORSIS Group and High-Precision Weapons Holding. The latter put on display the world-known smart weaponry such as Iskander missile system, the Pantsir SPAAG and the Kornet ATGM.
A huge variety of weapons including missiles and UAV one could also find within the Chinese and Iranian pavilions.
It looks like the show had an extremely good results for the Belarus companies. The organizers announced 14 export contracts worth over USD 266 million being signed to double MILEX-2021 commercial result. The exhibition and conference have been visited by over 10,000 specialists including foreign delegations from 32 countries. The next MILEX event has been scheduled for 2025. (Yury Laskin; Laguk-Media; Photo © Yury Laskin)