Belarus enters international ammunition business

Belarusian defense holding Belspetsvneshtekhnika (BSVT) has launched a manufacturing line to produce ammunition for small arms, according to Belarusian media.

Belarus enters international ammunition business
Belspetsvneshtekhnika manufactures both traditional Soviet cartridges - namely, 7.62x39 (M43) and 7.62x54R (M1908) - and STANAG-compatible ammo 9x19 (9 mm Parabellum) (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Previously, Belarus was not on the global list of ammo manufacturers. A workshop, which was recently established in the Vitebsk Region, produces up to 2,000 cartridges in an hour. The facility manufactures both traditional Soviet cartridges - namely, 7.62x39 (M43) and 7.62x54R (M1908) - and STANAG-compatible ammo (9x19 (9 mm Parabellum). "The enterprise has been activated in order to provide [the military] with indigenously-made cartridges [for small arms]. The country issued necessary laws, trained specialists and then defined the calibers of the rounds to be produced," said a Belarusian TV channel ONT in a January 19 footage on the in-house production of ammunition and other items of defense hardware.

According to the ONT, the first 5,000,000 cartridges have already been shipped to some unspecified Western European and African countries. "The customers’ responses say these items of ammunition feature a well-balanced cost-effectiveness ratio," noted the TV channel, adding that the new enterprise’s production capacities allow full meeting of internal demands in terms of delivery quantities. "Some twenty tooling machines and fifteen specialists can produce up to 30,000,000 cartridges per year," said the ONT, adding that the monthly production rates can be doubled and the ammunition range can be expanded.

Belarus now produces two Kalashnikov-type carbines, namely, the VSK-100 and VSK-100 Bullpup. The VSK-100 is chambered for the M43 cartridge, weighs 4.2 kg, and has a firing rate of 900 rpm with a muzzle velocity of 775 m/s. The carbine is fed by either organic 30-round Kalashnikov magazines or 75-95-round drum boxes. The VSK-100 Bullpup features almost the same specifications, but has a drastically different layout, with its magazine placed behind the trigger assembly. "A European customer has ordered 10,000 [VSK-100/VSK-100 Bullpup] rifles. It has already tested a low-rate initial production batch comprising 30 rifles and requested more [firearms]," said the ONT. Belarus also manufactures some sniper rifles, civil weapons, optical scopes, and silencers, the TV channel pointed out.

BSVT also manufactures cartridges for rifled sporting and hunting weapons. "Now the country has its own in-house line that produces ammunition for small arms," emphasized Director General of the company BSVT-New Technologies (a subsidiary of the BSVT) Alexey Skraga in an interview with Belarusian media on January 10.

Along with the manufacturing of small arms and cartridges, BSVT refurbishes air-launched weapons. "The company has restored and reactivated more than 100 R-27 (NATO reporting name: AA-10 Alamo) and R-73 (AA-11 Archer) air-to-air missiles (AAMs)," said the ONT. The Belarusian Ministry if Defense is reported to have contracted some refurbished AAMs.

The company has also unveiled an intention to build up its own manufacturing lines to produce nitrated cotton, light armored vehicles, and anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs). BSVT detailed neither armored cars nor ATGMs to be manufactured.

Previously, Belarus mothballed the development and production of indigenous small arms and missile weapons.

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