Belarus aims to produce needed weapons domestically
By Andrei Parotnikau
Belarus has a long-term political strategy to ensure domestic production of needed armament.
On June 22nd, 2020, President Lukashenka, when visiting the 38th air assault brigade in Brest, said that to ensure domestic defense needs, Belarus had to produce major weapons and ammunition domestically. According to him, it was a political decision, which had already been partially implemented but still required a lot of work in terms of setting up the required weapons production lines.
On October 5th, 2018, when Lukashenka familiarized with samples of domestically produced/modernized weapons and military equipment, he said it was necessary to produce defense products primarily to cover the domestic defense needs.
On October 10th, 2015, when speaking at a meeting with the command staff of the army, Lukashenka demanded that the military focused on domestic equipment, its repair services, and modernization. He also criticized the planned deliveries of Russian UAVs and armored vehicles. Simultaneously, he acknowledged problems with the quality and high costs of domestically produced defense products. He ordered the army to test domestically produced equipment and producers to improve it accordingly.
Minsk aims to cover its needs in arms to a maximum extent with domestic production. Initially, it was a part of the cost-cutting import substitution policy. However, in recent years, Russia’s unpredictable foreign policy in military-technical cooperation became a risk factor in addition to complicated political relations with the Kremlin. “Weapon sovereignty” is currently dictated not only and not so much by financial but rather geopolitical considerations. Hence, domestic military production is likely to focus more on combat platforms and fire weapons.