Belarus Plans to Double Own Army: How Realistic This Scenario Is And How Long It Will Take

Illustrative photo from open sources
Illustrative photo from open sources

Increasing the army from 45,000 to 80,000 can be a tough task for Belarus

The Armed Forces of Belarus are planned to increase to 80,000, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the troops recruitment will be done by taking weapons and military equipment from storage bases.

Basically, it’s almost doubling the size of the Belarusian army. According to Military Balance 2021, the total number of Belarusian armed forces was 45 thousand people.

Read more: Belarus to Close Borders, Convene “Militia”. Is It an Offensive Preparation Or Simply Distraction Moves? (Analysis)

Apparently, the 35,000 troops increasing is due to the formation of the Southern Operational Command in Belarus, which was announced by unrecognized President Lukashenko. Such strengthening, of course, will involve the formation of new formations and military units. Moreover, it is a return to the 2010 level, when the Belarusian army had about 73,000 personnel in service.

Belarus Plans to Double Army: How Realistic This Scenario Is And How Long It Will Take, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo from open sources

Of course, the way to increase the number of armed forces can follow different scenarios. Starting with the creation of full-fledged mechanized brigades, ending with the formation of infantry regiments of conscripts.

But if we are talking about the full formation of new forces equal in capabilities to the existing ones, it will require the formation of approximately: up to five full-fledged mechanized brigades, one artillery brigade, a number of regiments and individual battalions of air defense, intelligence, electronic warfare, engineering , provision, etc. As well as a proportional increase in the air component.

Belarus Plans to Double Army: How Realistic This Scenario Is And How Long It Will Take, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo from open sources

That is, relatively speaking, it is necessary to increase the number of tanks, combat and engineering vehicles, as well as other weapons by about 3/4 of the available.

And it is unlikely that Minsk will be able to implement such a large-scale plan in the short term. In fact, this is a task for years that will require a significant increase in military financing.

And in these conditions, one of the few realistic scenarios is to increase only the "manpower", with light weapons and the minimum required amount of light armored vehicles. This scenario allows for an increase in the army, but such an increase in personnel does not lead to a proportional increase in the combat effectiveness of the armed forces as a whole.

Belarus Plans to Double Army: How Realistic This Scenario Is And How Long It Will Take, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Illustrative photo from open sources

But even with the formation of "light infantry brigades" there are still huge challenges with the deployment, provision, formation of the personnel base of experienced officers, who must be transferred from other units. That is, even in this format, it will take months to solve this issue.

Defense Express’s notes:

Despite Russia outgunning Ukraine in military equipment and personnel, Ukrainian defenders have managed to win battles in Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions and continue to bravely hold the line in Donbas. However, the situation there is very difficult.

To defend itself and gain its territories back, Ukraine urgently needs multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and more 155-mm artillery systems.

Russia tries to influence the West and disrupt military aid to Ukraine. The West should not concede to Russia on this matter, because doing so would worsen and escalate the situation, not the other way round.

Read more: ​What Military Equipment Ukraine Receives from Great Britain