Belarus to Sell 33 Fighter Jets to a Private Company

Belarus is about to sign the world’s largest sale of fighter jets to a private company. ECA, a Netherlands-based company, is in talks to purchase 33 fighter jets from BelTechExport, a state-onwed Belarusian company. ECA plans to use the jets in Iceland as a mock enemy in military training exercises. The size of the deal is impressive – 33 fighter jets would be enough to fully equip army of a mid-sized European country.

According to Financial Times:

ECA has agreed to buy 15 Sukhoi Su-27 “Flanker” jets from BelTechExport, a Belarusian arms export company, with the option of 18 more. If completed, it would be the biggest sale of fighter aircraft to a private buyer and the first large-scale import of Russian-made warplanes into a Nato country. … the aircraft were originally made in Russia and will be “upgraded” in Belarus, with the first delivery in October.

Belarus is already one of the world’s largest military exporters. Although the country does not manufacture significant quantities of military equipment, it has old Soviet stocks and significant imports from Russia. In addition, 558 Aviation Repair Plant* is located near Baranavichy, in Western Belarus. The plant has wide experience of military technical collaboration with the foreign countries, and specializes in upgrading Soviet fighter jets.

However, the Baranavichy plant is not the main reason why Belarus is one of the world’s busiest arms exporters. It appears that Russian business groups are able to strike good deals with the leadership of Belarus when it comes to selling arms abroad. Avoiding taxes and public attention is crucial in this business. The deals are made in secret and their details are known only to a very limited number of people. So far, Belarus was known for sales to rough regimes such as Iran or Venezuella. Now the benefits of murky and non-transparent Belarus environment became evident to serious European customers.

If the deal goes through most of the $1.5bn sale price paid by ECA is likely to end up in private coffers of well-connected entrepreneurs and government officials. It is unfortunate that neither Russian nor Belarusian tax payers are aware of such deals let alone benefit from them.

YK

Comments

Let me clarify - the article

Let me clarify - the article above is not about illegality of these sales under international law.

Yaraslau, to be more clear -

Yaraslau, to be more clear - there are no facts proving that Belarusian government has broken any international sanctions on arms deals. Another thing is that some private persons or firms could make something of that kind. But again no facts either. Only statements by media interested in discrediting Belarusian government by any means (like Charter 97) or by media outlets with clear political agenda (like Jerusalem Post etc.).

I am not a fan of Belarusian government. But in this regard there are absolutely no grounds to accuse it of anything except for promoting national interests.

Earlier this year US Congress

Earlier this year US Congress Debated Bill on Belarus' Arms Trade. The bill estimated that Belarus ranked the 11th largest arms exporter in the world in the period. Of course, not all sales were illegal. Also, this information is difficult to verify and many deals remain unreported. Some more info: http://tinyurl.com/36sqcbx

'Belarus was known for sales

'Belarus was known for sales to rough regimes such as Iran or Venezuella'

Actually, Belarus sold only 15 tanks T-72 to Iran in 2002 and that is it. All other information about arms deals proved so far to be fake, including latest one about S-300. It is nothing comparing to Belarusian deals with other countries, and other countries arms deals with Iran (like Ukraine or Russia).

The stories about arms deals are favorite theme for some propaganda sites of Belarusian opposition, but they lack substance.

Venezuela works with Belarus in air defence development, yet there are no restrictions on it, except for US private opinion.

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