Belarusian missile for Buk-MB2 air defense systems successfully tested

According to BelTA news agency, Belarus has successfully tested its own missile for the Buk-MB2 system. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement as he presented government awards and shoulder straps to high-ranking officers on 7 March: Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “We tested a Buk missile for our air defense missile system the day before yesterday. It flew where we wanted it to fly and did everything that was necessary.”
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Firing of a 9M318 missile from a Buk-MB2 (Picture source: screenshot from a video released by the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus)

Belarus held another successful test of a missile for the domestic Buk-MB2 anti-aircraft missile system, the republic’s State Military-Industrial Committee announced on Tuesday, March 7. ‘The State Military-Industrial Committee is successfully carrying out preliminary tests of the domestic 9M318 surface-to-air missile engineered for the Belarusian Buk-MB2 air defense system," the committee said in a statement posted on its Telegram channel. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the tests had been held on March 5.

In early September 2022, Belarus featured the Buk-MB2 anti-aircraft missile system with the 9M318 missile at the ADEX 2022 defense show in Azerbaijan. The 9M318 medium-range surface-to-air missile was successfully tested in 2020.

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9M318 missile for Buk-MB2 air defense system (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The upgraded Buk-MB2 is designed to strike all types of aerodynamic targets under intensive enemy jamming and fight tactical ballistic missiles and precision weapons and engage naval and ground targets. The air defense system features a phased array radar and a new optoelectronic target detection and tracking system. As its designers say, the system is capable of spotting targets at a range of 200 km and striking them with the 9M318 missile at a distance of 3 km to 70 km. The system has a launcher with an ammunition load of four missiles and can be deployed within five minutes.

Belarus president Lukashenko stressed that a lot has been done recently to equip the Belarusian army and security and law enforcement agencies with ‘’genuine’’ weapons. BelTA quoted representatives of the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus as saying in May 2022 that new missiles for the Polonez system and the Buk system were being tested. “Missile engineering is currently one of the key areas of work for the State Authority for Military Industry. We will have another stage of tests in May and the next one in August. I think that like last year, we will hold several test stages this year and will be able to report to the head of state at the end of the year that we will have fulfilled the tasks facing the State Authority for Military Industry in this key sector,” Chairman of the State Authority for Military Industry of Belarus Dmitry Pantus noted.

Before that, Belarus and Russia had come to terms about assistance with missile production. During a government conference held in May 2022 to discuss state defense contracts Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “I gave the relevant task to the Prime Minister after the latest meeting with the president of Russia in the Far East. We'd expressly agreed: Putin, [Roscosmos head Dmitry] Rogozin, Lukashenko, and other people who were there – people who are involved in missile production in Russia were supposed to take a look at our R&D products. We are creating a new missile after all. A very effective missile like [the Russian mobile short-range ballistic missile system] Iskander. And full support was granted.” The head of state added: “In my presence, the president instructed Dmitry Rogozin to immediately provide support so that we would not waste time reinventing the wheel, so that we could tap into the experience of the Russian specialists, who made the Iskander missile.”

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The 9M318 missile is believed to be compatible with the Buk-MB3K self-propelled SAM system that was unveiled at the MILEX 2019 defense show held in Minsk in May 2019 (Picture source: Army Recognition)

Defense News March 2023