Belarus deploys Russian-made S-400 air defense systems and Iskander missiles on its territory

The Belarusian Ministry of Defense announced on December 26, 2022, that Russian S-400 air defense missile systems and Iskander mobile ballistic missiles deployed on the Belarus territory are fully operational.
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Transporter Erector Launcher vehicle of Russian-made S-400 air defense missile system. (Picture source Army Recognition)

On December 25, 2022, a video was posted on the Telegram account of the Belarus Ministry of Defense announcing that the Belarus soldiers have fully completed their training in the joint combat training centers of the armed forces of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.

Citing information from the Belarus Ministry of Defense, the S-400 air defense missile systems and Iskander ballistic missiles are on combat duty today and they are fully prepared to perform tasks for their intended purpose.

On December 19, 2022, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko announced the deployment of the S-400 and Iskander in Belarus. "We have deployed the S-400 systems and, most importantly, the Iskander system in Belarus that was handed by Russia, as we promised six months ago", said Alexander Lukashenko.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Belarus allowed Russia full access to its military airbases for Russian military aircraft to launch aircraft and its army installations to shoot artillery and missiles from its territory towards its southern neighbor, or to cross its border southbound. The Ukrainian commander-in-chief reported that four ballistic missiles were launched from Belarus toward southwest Ukraine.

Maxar Technologies also published satellite images with 150 helicopters and hundreds of ground vehicles stationed near Khoyniki, some 50 km from the Ukrainian border, with 90 helicopters using a local straight road as a temporary airbase.

Belarusian media and Telegram channels also circulated numerous videos and photos showing the movement of Russian armored vehicles and helicopters in southern Belarus.

Today, there is no information on the use that Russia could make of its S-400s and Iskanders deployed on Belarus territory, but these could be used in the context of an expansion of the conflict in Ukraine with the support of Belarus armed forces.

The S-400 nicknamed Triumf or Triumph, NATO code-named SA-21 Growler is a long-range surface-to-air missile system produced by Almaz-Antey. it is designed to engage, ECM (Electronic Counter Measure), radar-picket, director area, reconnaissance, strategic and tactical aircraft, tactical and theatre ballistic missiles, medium-range ballistic missiles and other current and future air attack assets at a maximum range of 400 km, and an altitude of up to 30 km.

The Iskander SS-26 Stone is a short-range tactical missile system developed and produced in Russia. The missile is designed for mobile, autonomous operation and is capable of striking point and area targets at ranges of 50 – 280 km. The latest generation of the Iskander missile system, the Iskander-M has a firing range of up to 400 km.

The missile of the Iskander can carry conventional warheads, cluster bombs splinter munitions as well as a nuclear warhead, and allow for precision-strike operations. The target accuracy is 5-7 meters coupled with an optical homing head and 30-70 m in an autonomous application.