Azerbaijani Politics 10 october — 12:09

Azerbaijani defence minister went to Lukashenko for missile system (Our notes)

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BY FARHAD MAMMADOV, SPARTAK HASANOV

On the first day of the official visit to the Republic of Belarus, Azerbaijani Defence Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov visited two strategic sites of the country: a defence industry enterprise and a military training ground, as reported by the press service of the Defence Ministry.

Azerbaijani delegation got acquainted with military equipment and other military products manufactured by the defence industry of Belarus, and also inspected armament and equipment that could strengthen the power of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, informs the Defence Ministry.

Zakir Hasanov at talks with Alexander Lukashenko

Other details of the visit's program are not given. However, in a photograph distributed by the press-service of the Defence Ministry, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov examines the installation of the multiple-launch rocket system 'Polonaise.' It was towards this weapon, in the opinion of foreign military experts, that Azerbaijan showed substantial interest. It is possible to assume with a high degree of probability that among the armaments that attract official Baku and can increase the firepower of the Azerbaijani army, there is also MLRS 'Polonaise.'

How exactly will this rocket system affect the firepower of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, if it is included in the arsenal of our army?

From the information received from open sources, we can conclude that if Azerbaijan, through its strong partnership with Belarus, agrees to acquire 'Polonaise,' then this system will greatly enhance the combat potential and strikepower of our armed forces.

Zakir Hasanov studying 'Polonaise'

The development of the 'Polonaise' MLRS began in 2013 on the instructions of the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. In one of his interviews, the head of Belarus noted that he had asked Moscow to transfer to Minsk the operational-tactical Iskander-E complexes withdrawn in the Russian Federation from combat duty, but was refused. After that, Lukashenko ordered to develop such a missile system that would not be inferior to Iskander-E in terms of range and accuracy of target destruction.

By that time, Belarus had sufficient potential to create its own missile system. In addition, a mobile platform for the Russian Iskander OTRK is produced in Minsk. Actually, Belarus had to develop only the missile itself and a fire control system.

And two years later the 'Polonaise' MLRS was demonstrated at the military parade in Minsk.

The 'Polonaise' system, designed to defeat any group or point targets of the enemy, manpower and equipment in any form of its configuration, consists of a combat control vehicle, a transport-charging machine and missiles for various purposes in transport-launch containers. All the elements of the MLRS are installed on the wheeled chassis of the high passability of the Belarusian production.

The MZKT-7930 chassis with a diesel engine (500 hp) can carry a payload weighing up to 24 tonnes with a maximum speed of up to 70 km/h with a power reserve of up to 1000 km. The rockets of the Polonez complex are delivered in transport-launch containers (TLC) of square cross-section. TLC serves as a guide and sets the initial trajectory of the rocket.

The equipment installed in the combat control vehicle provides communication with combat, transport-loading and command vehicles at a distance of up to ten kilometres in motion and up to 30 while parked. Combat calculation of four people can work continuously up to 48 hours. The 'Polonaise' combat vehicle uses a chassis of the same brand, on which Russian tactical missile systems 'Iskander' are being built.

Belarusian corrected missiles of calibre 300 mm fly twice as far as American 'colleagues' of MLRS HIMARS. They are equipped with a combined correction system based on inertial and satellite navigation systems. Circumferential missile deflection does not exceed 30 m. Their combat units can have different equipment: high-explosive fragmentation, fragmentation-cassette, cluster with self-targeting anti-tank warheads and others. A battery of MLRS 'Polonaise' of six combat vehicles can cover up to 48 separate targets located on an area of 100 square kilometres.

When using the new high-precision guided missile M20 in Polonaise, the system smoothly passes into a new quality: an operational and tactical missile system. The missile has a combined inertial and satellite control system, providing a maximum range of 280 km. The fighting part weighing 480 kg has a power corresponding to a charge of 560 kg of TNT.

In 2016, the first tests of the 'Polonaise' MLRS were carried out, which were shown on state-run Belorussian television. During the tests, the missiles launched from the 'Polonaise' MLRS with high accuracy hit the targets at a range of 200 kilometres.

'Polonaise' is in fact a historical achievement of the Belarusian defence industry, because for the first time since independence, the country has been able to develop a modern long-range and high-precision weapons system. Information that Azerbaijan is interested in acquiring the 'Polonaise,' appeared during the development of this system. It is assumed that during the visit of Alexander Lukashenko to Baku in 2016, the issue of the acquisition of this system by Azerbaijan was also discussed.

Belarusian military expert Alexander Aleshin in an interview with Rosbalt noted that Azerbaijan is interested in acquiring 'Polonaise' primarily because Russia supplied Iskanders to Yerevan. At the same time, he suggested that Minsk would coordinate with Moscow supplies of these weapons to Baku.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev got acquainted with the national stand of Belarus at the military industrial exhibition ADEX-2016 held in Baku. He was presented the models developed by 'Belspetsvneshtekhnika,' including the 'Polonaise' MLRS, by the head of the Belarus Goskomvoyenprom Sergey Gurulev. The system attracted special attention of Ilaham Aliyev, and S.Gurulev clarified the parametres and capabilities of the rocket installation.

It remains to be seen whether negotiations on the acquisition of the 'Polonaise' have begun by Azerbaijan, but it is clear that our country is interested in this.

Considering that in the arsenal of the Azerbaijani army there is already Smerch MLRS of a 300-mm calibre with a range of 90 km, Turkish 300-mm Kasırga MLRS with a range of 150 km, as well as Israeli Linx missile systems with a range of 150 km, with the acquisition of a MLRS 'Polonaise' the firepower of Azerbaijan will reach the level of the most combat-capable armies of the world.

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