On its four-day trip to Pakistan, a high-level delegation from Belarus made a visit to Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production (MoDP). According to a MoDP press release, Belarus is interested in having Pakistan procure a number of its products, particularly its optics technology and military vehicles. It was also eager to form a working group for the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
It could be an interesting avenue for the Pakistani armed forces. Granted, Belarus is not as large a vendor as China or the U.S., but it has done fairly well in building its expertise in a number of areas, such as radar and electronic warfare (EW) technology. This article will offer a brief overview of Belarus’ defence industry offerings, but with a specific focus on what may be of interest to the Pakistani armed forces.
The leading military electronics firm in Belarus is the KB Radar Design Bureau. The vendor is known for producing very high-frequency (VHF) radars, such as the Vostok 3D radar, which until recent years could provide most countries with good long-range air surveillance coverage. Seeing the limitations of its older generation technology, the KB Radar Design Bureau also began offering an S-band phased-array radar known as the Vostok 3S. The company also offers a low-level X-band radar – the ROSA.
In any case, the firm seems to have a fairly good grasp of radar technology, and that too across a range of applications (e.g. surveillance, self-protection, etc). Pakistan might have an opportunity in Belarus to learn about the technology from a research and development perspective, at the minimum.
The Belarusian Optical and Mechanical Association is a developer and producer of military-grade optical equipment. These include a wide range of sights for use on assault rifles, battle rifles, and sniper rifles. Its portfolio even includes ‘red-dot’ sights. If affordable and effective enough, Pakistan could perhaps acquire them for mass-distribution within the infantry, and that too with licensed domestic manufacturing. Laser designators, night vision devices, and thermal imaging devices are also on offer.
Belarus purportedly assisted Vietnam in the latter’s efforts to develop a high-altitude long-endurance (HALE) UAV. The delegation’s interest in forming a working group on UAV development with Pakistan could be an indication of Belarus wanting to engage in more high-profile and complex UAV programs.
This is merely a cursory glance of possible avenues for cooperation between Belarus and Pakistan. As a general point, it does not hurt to explore opportunities in countries with more focused defence industries. In fact, with the right funding and intent, one may even be able to procure highly valuable expertise in key technological areas. Whether it be Belarus, South Africa, Brazil, Romania, or the Czech Republic, Pakistan ought to thoroughly explore its options.