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Military of Kazakhstan

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Military of Kazakhstan

Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Қазақстанның Қарулы Kүштері
Coat of Arms of the Kazakh Armed Forces
Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Current form 1992
Service branches Republican Guard
Kazakh Ground Forces
Kazakh Air Force
Kazakh Air Defense Forces
Kazakh Naval Forces
Headquarters Astana, Almaty
Commander-in-Chief Nursultan Nazarbayev
Minister of Defence Imangali Tasmagambetov
Military age 18-45 years old;
Conscription One year
Active personnel 109,500
Budget $1.648 billion U$D (FY11)[1]
Percent of GDP 1.1% (2010 est.)[1]
Domestic suppliers Kazakhstan Engineering
Foreign suppliers Russia
United States
Related articles
History Civil war in Tajikistan
Iraq War

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстанның Қарулы күштері / Qazaqstannıñ Qarwlı küşteri), is the name of the unified armed forces of Kazakhstan. It consists of the Ground Forces, Air and Air Defence Forces, Naval Forces, and Republican Guard. The national defence policy aims which are based on the Constitution of Kazakhstan are to guarantee the preservation of the independence and sovereignty of the state and the integrity of its land area, territorial waters and airspace and its constitutional order. The armed forces of Kazakhstan are performed under the authority of the Kazakhstan Ministry of Defence.

The Military Balance 2013 reported armed forces' strength as Army, 20,000, Navy, 3,000, Air Force, 12,000, and MoD, 4,000. It also reported 31,000 paramilitary personnel.[2]


On May 7, 1992, the President of Kazakhstan took a number of actions regarding defence. He signed a decree on the 'establishment of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan', the transformation of the State Committee of Defence of the Republic of Kazakhstan into the Ministry of Defence, on the attribution of Sagadat Nurmagambetov the military rank of Colonel General, and the appointment of General-Colonel Sagadat Nurmagambetov as Defence Minister of Kazakhstan. Mukhtar Altynbayev served as the Minister of Defence twice, most recently from December 2001 to 10 January 2007.

On June 30, 1992, the Soviet Armed Forces' Turkestan Military District disbanded, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most powerful grouping of forces from the Turkestan Military District then became the core of Kazakhstan's new military. Kazakhstan acquired all the units of the 40th Army (the former 32nd Army) and part of the 17th Army Corps, including 6 land force divisions, storage bases, the 14th and 35th air-landing brigades, 2 rocket brigades, 2 artillery regiments and a large amount of equipment which had been withdrawn from over the Urals after the signing of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe.

On July 6, 2000, a Presidential Decree "On the structure of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan" changed the structure: The Armed Forces returned to a dual structure (general-purpose forces and air defense forces). The Airmobile Forces were created, the transition to the new military-territorial structure, established military districts, harmonized structure and deployment of troops. On August 7, Lieutenant-General A. B. Dzharbulov was appointed commander of the Southern Military District and Lieutenant-General E. Ertaev became commander of the Eastern Military District. In February 2001 a Presidential Decree divided the functions of the Ministry of Defence and General Staff. According to the decree, the head of the General Staff subordinates all kinds of aircraft and type of troops and military districts, while the Minister of Defence has a mostly administrative and political functions. On March 30, Major General M. K. Sihimov was appointed commander of the Western Military Region. On October 12, M. Saparov was appointed to Chief of the General Staff and First Deputy of the Defence Minister. V. B. Elamanov became commander of the Airmobile Forces. On December 8, a new Defense Minister was appointed: General K. Altynbayev, and on December 27, Major General K. K. Akhmadiev was appointed commander of the Air Defense Forces. On 29 January 2002, Major-General Tasbulatov was appointed Deputy of the Defense Minister, Maj. Gen. Elamanov became commander of the Southern Military District, Maj. Gen. N. А. Dzhulamanov became commander of the Eastern Military District and Maj. Gen. Zhasuzakov became commander of the Airmobile Forces. On February 21, 2002 Major-General A. Shatskov was appointed commander of the Central Military District and on 7 May K. Altynbayev was given the title of Army General.

On May 7, 2013, Kazakhstan had its first military parade in its history which took place at Otar military base. In this day, Kazakhstan celebrated the Defender of the Fatherland Day as the national holiday for the first time ever. During the ceremony, the first woman was promoted to the rank of General.[3] Today there are four regional commands: Regional Command Astana, Regional Command South at Taraz, Regional Command East at Semipalatinsk, Regional Command West at Aktobe, as well as the Air Defence Forces, the Airmobile Forces with four brigades, and the Artillery and Missile Forces (formed as a separate branch on 7 May 2003).[4]

Kazakhstan is a founding member of CSTO and SCO. Kazakhstan also has an Individual Partnership Action Plan with NATO & strategic cooperation with the Turkish Armed Forces.

Ground Forces

Regional Commands of Kazakhstan

On November 1, 1992, on the basis of units of the former Soviet 32nd Army of the Turkestan Military District, the First Army Corps was created, with its headquarters in Semipalatinsk.[5] Later, at its base was established the Eastern Military District, retitled on 13 November 2003 as Regional Command East.

Immediately prior to its dissolution, the 32nd Army consisted of the 78th Tank Division (Ayaguz); the 5202nd Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment at Semipalatinsk (prior to 1989 - the 167th Sumy-Kiev Motor Rifle Division); the 5203rd BKhVT Ust-Kamenogorsk (prior to 1989, the 155th Motor Rifle Division); and the 5204th BKhVT at Karaganda (prior to 1989 - the 203rd Zaporozhye Khingan Motor Rifle Division).

Today there are four regional commands: Regional Command Astana, Regional Command South at Taraz, Regional Command East at Semipalatinsk, Regional Command West at Aktobe, as well as the Air Defence Forces, the Airmobile Forces with four brigades, and the Artillery and Missile Forces (formed as a separate branch on 7 May 2003).[4]

In the middle of the 1990s Kazakhstan's land forces included the 1st Army Corps (HQ Semipalatinsk), with the 68th Motor Rifle Division (Sary-Ozek, in Kyzylorda Province) – 2 motor-rifle and one tank regiment and the 78th Tank Division (Ayaguz).[6] While the 68th Division was called a motor-rifle formation, in equipment terms it had almost 300 tanks and about 500 armoured fighting vehicles. The 78th Tank Division had 350 tanks, 290 armoured fighting vehicles and 150 artillery pieces. The 210th Separate Training Center (a former motor rifle training division) had 6,000 soldier and officers and 220 tanks and 220 artillery pieces, so was a strengthened division. (It was often called the Division of Guards by Kazakh sources).

Some of Kazakhstan's officers have trained at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Today the Ground Forces include four regional commands:[7]

  • Regional Command "West", (Headquarters Atyrau) - in the administrative boundaries of the West Kazakhstan Province, Aktobe Province, Atyrau Province and Mangystau Province. The main task is ensuring the integrity of state borders, territorial integrity, sovereignty and economic interests of Kazakhstan in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea. In 2008, the commander of the district appointed general Alimzhan Kanagatovich Erniyazov. The District has separate motor rifle and artillery brigades.
  • Regional Command "South", (Headquarters Taraz) - in the administrative boundaries of Almaty Province, Zhambyl Province, South Kazakhstan Province and Kyzylorda Province. The district's main task is ensuring security in the south-eastern borders of the country. In 2008, General Alikhan Brimzhanovich Dzharbulov was appointed commander of the district. The District includes the 4th Motor Rifle Division at Sary-Ozek in Almaty Province, the 5th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade (Taraz, Military Unit No.85395, 1,500 personnel), the 6th Separate Motor Rifle Brigade (Shymkent, Military Unit No.35748, with five motor rifle and tank battalions, two artillery battalions), a mountain battalion, and the 210th Training Center. The 206th Reserve Division was previously stationed in this command area.

Airmobile Forces

Kazakh Airmobile Forces Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
Kazakh paratrooper in 2000
Kazakh paratroopers in combat gear

The Airmobile Forces were formed by grouping the 35th Air Assault Brigade with new brigades formed from previous Soviet units. Near Karaganda was the 5204th Base for Storage of Weapons and Equipment, the remnants of a motor rifle division.[8] In 1998 two motorized rifle brigades were created from the former storage base. One of which was left near Karaganda, and another called 2nd Separate Motor Rifle Brigade and was relocated 200 kilometers to the north of Astana, which by that time was the capital, and for that reason ought to have a decent court garrison. No units were stationed in Astana (Tslinograd) during the Soviet period. In October 2003, the 36th Separate Air Assault Brigade was formed on the basis of the 2nd Motor Rifle Brigade. On the basis of Taldykorgan Motor Rifle Regiment, 173rd Sary Ozekskoy Motor Rifle Division, in April 2003 was formed the 37th Separate Air Assault Brigade.

Gen. Maj. Adilbek Aldaberpenov (left), Kazakhstan Airmobile Forces commander, greets Lt. Gen. William G. Webster, Third Army/U.S. Army Central commanding general, 2009

Ground Forces Equipment

Kazakh T-72B tank at the 2013 Tank Biathlon

Ground forces equipment includes:


  • 300 T-72/B (IISS 2013, 221.)

Previous main battle tanks in service have included T-62s[11]

Armed Personnel Carriers

Towed Artillery

Self-propelled Artillery

Rocket Artillery


  • 120mm 2B11/M-120 - 145[14]

Small Arms

Security agencies and commando units

Kazakhstan Republican Guard perform precision drill routines during CENTRASBAT 2000.

There are a number of special forces units reporting to various Kazakh security agencies which are not part of the Armed Forces. The National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan has the Arystan commando unit, KNS' Border Guards has a unit, the Police have units, and the Presidency is reported to have its own units also.

Additionally, a small Republican Guard exists, with 2,500 soldiers (1994), but this force is not considered a part of the Army. The Republican Guard was established on March 6, 1992, when the President of Kazakhstan signed a decree on their creation. The Republican Guard was established on the basis of a separate brigade of operational designation of the Internal Troops deployed in the village of Kaskelen district of Almaty region.[18] Two Republican Guard regiments were created, stationed in Astana and Almaty.

Kazakh Air and Air Defence Forces

Air Force roundel
Mi-8 of Kazakhstan Air Force
Airbus A330-200 of Kazakhstan Air Force
CASA C-295 of Kazakhstan Air Force
Boeing 757 of Kazakhstan Air Force
Su-25 of Kazakhstan Air Force
Boeing 737 BBJ of Kazakhstan Air Force
Antonov An-26 of Kazakhstan Air Force.

On the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the 24th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division with three aviation regiments and three separate regiments was stationed in Kazakhstan.[19] By late 1993 the Kazakhstan Air Force comprised a total of six regiments, with a further air defence fighter regiment. The 11th Division included the 129th Fighter-Bomber Regiment based at Taldy Kurgan, with MiG-27 'Flogger' aircraft and the 134th Fighter-Bomber Regiment at Zhangiz-tobe with MiG-27s. There was also the 149th Bomber Regiment at Zhetigen/Nikolayevka, with Sukhoi Su-24 'Fencers'; it is not entirely clear what this unit's direct superior was. Independent elements comprised the 715th Fighter Regiment at Lugovaya, with MiG-29s and MiG-23 'Floggers'; the 39th Reconnaissance Regiment at Balkhash, with MiG-25RBs and Su-24MR 'Fencer' aircraft, and the 486th Helicopter Regiment based at Ucharal with Mi-24 'Hind'. The sole air defence fighter aviation regiment was the 356th Fighter Aviation Regiment at Semipalatinsk with MiG-31 air defence fighters. The Air Force was under the command of Major General Aliy Petrovich Volkov. The 134th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment at Zhangiz-tobe had originally been activated at Cherlyany, Lvov Oblast, in 1971, before being transferred to Central Asia that same year.[20] It was equipped with MiG-17s, MiG-21s, and the MiG-23UB up to 1981, when it was reequipped with the MiG-27D/M/K. Two squadrons were deployed to Shindand, Afghanistan from 22 October 1988 to 6 February 1989 (joined by one squadron from the 129th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment). In early (January?) 1992, it was taken over by Kazakhstan, and disbanded in 1993. From 1980 to 1992 it was under the control of the 24th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division which, according to Holm, also controlled the 129th Regiment in 1990. The 24th Division was itself subordinated to the 73rd Air Army, September 1970 - April 1980, the Air Forces of the Central Asian Military District, April 1980 - May 1988, and then to the 73rd Air Army once more from May 1988 to January 1992.

Air Force 12,000 (incl Air Defence) 1 air force division. Pilots fly approximately 100 hour per year.

Today the Kazakh Air and Air Defence Force has four fast jet bases:[21]



Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[22] Notes
Combat aircraft
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-29 Fulcrum Russia fighter MiG-29, UB 39[22]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-31 Foxhound Soviet Union interceptor MiG-31B 30[22] One crashed on April 23, 2013.[23][24]
Sukhoi Su-27 Flanker Russia fighter Su-27, UB 26[25] 10 aircraft were upgrading, multi-role Su-27BM2/Su-27UBM2[26]
Sukhoi Su-24 Fencer Russia bomber Su-24M 25[22]
Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoot Soviet Union attack Su-25, UB 14[22]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27 Flogger Soviet Union attack MiG-27M 12[22]
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-23 Flogger Soviet Union combat-trainer MiG-23UB 3[22]
VIP Transport
Airbus A330-200 European Union VIP transport A330-200 2 Presidential aircraft, chartered from Berkut Air
Airbus A320-200 European Union VIP transport A320-200 1 Chartered from Berkut Air
Boeing 757-200 United States VIP transport 757-200 1 Chartered from Berkut Air
Boeing 737 United States VIP transport 737-7EJ BBJ 1 P4-KAZ
Tupolev Tu-154 Soviet Union VIP transport Tu-154M 1 UP-T5401
Tupolev Tu-134 Soviet Union Passenger transport Tu-134A
UN-65683 (Balkany version)
Yakovlev Yak-40 Soviet Union Passenger transport Yak-40 1 UN-87488
Tactical Transport
Antonov An-12 Cub Soviet Union tactical transport An-12 2[22]
Antonov An-26 Curl Soviet Union tactical transport An-26 7[22]
CASA C-295 Spain tactical transport C-295 2[27] 6 more options
Antonov An-72 Coaler Ukraine tactical transport An-72 0 (1)[22] One An-72 crashed on December 25, 2012 and one ordered
Attack Helicopters
Mil Mi-24 Hind Russia attack helicopter (Russian modernisation) Mi-24P/-24V 36[22]
Airlift, Transport, and Utility Helicopters
Eurocopter EC145 European Union transport helicopter EC145 6 (39) total purchase of 45
Eurocopter EC725 European Union transport helicopter EC725 0 (20)[28] 20 on order, to be assembled locally[28]
Bell UH-1 Iroquois United States utility helicopter UH-1H 12[29]
Mil Mi-8 Hip Soviet Union
transport helicopter Mi-17/-17V-5 40[22]
Mil Mi-26 Halo Soviet Union transport helicopter Mi-26T/-26TZ 2[22]
Training Aircraft and Helicopters
Aero L-39 Albatros Czech Republic trainer L-39 20[22]

Surface-to-Air Missiles include:

Future Purchases

On 28 Oct 2010, two strategic agreements signed today establish the framework for Eurocopter’s creation of a 50/50 joint venture with Kazakhstan Engineering Kazakhstan to assemble EC145 helicopters, along with the sale of 45 of these locally-assembled aircraft for government missions in the country.[30] On 28 November 2011, Eurocopter delivered the first of six EC145s ordered to date by the Kazakh Ministries of Defence and Emergencies.[31] Deliveries are to continue through 2017.

On 3 January 2012, Airbus Military signed a firm contract with Kazspetsexport, a state company belonging to the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan, to supply two EADS CASA C-295 military transport aircraft plus the related service support package for spare parts and ground support equipment. Additionally, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed for a further six C295 aircraft, for which separate firm contracts will be signed progressively over the next few years. The first two aircraft will be delivered by April 2013 and for the remaining six aircraft a delivery schedule will be defined over the following years. This purchase likely represents a quid pro quo. In 2008, EADS made titanium sourcing agreements with Kazakh suppliers.[32]

Kazakh Naval Force
Kazakh naval emblem
Country Republic of Kazakhstan
Size 3,000 personnel
14 vessels
Navy Ensign
Naval Jack

In May 2012, Kharkov Morozov (a Ukrainian company) agreed a $150 million contract with Kazakhstan Engineering to jointly produce 100 BTR-4 armored personnel carriers (APCs).[33] Deliveries were to begin in 2012, with 10 BTR-4s delivered. The remaining vehicles were to be delivered in 2013.

In May 2012, Kazakhstan signed a letter of intent to acquire 20 Eurocopter EC725 helicopters. They were to be assembled in Astana by Kazakhstan Engineering.[34] These Eurocoptors will be fitted with modern systems made by the Turkish firm Aselsan.

Naval Force

On 7 May 2003, Kazakhstan’s Naval Forces were established by presidential decree. They operate on the Caspian Sea, based at Aktau. The Kazakh Naval Force has a strength of 3,000 personnel and is equipped with 14 inshore patrol craft.[35]

In 2011, a naval aviation base was opened in Aktau. The 612th air base in Aktau will include two Su-27 fighter jets, seven Su-27 pilots and 12 helicopter gunship pilots, according to a report in Interfax-Kazakhstan (not online, via BBC Monitoring). The report doesn't specify the model or number of helicopters, but it is presumed they are Mi-24s.[36]

Equipment includes:


  1. ^ a b "SIPRI Publications". 
  2. ^ IISS 2013, 221.
  3. ^ "First Military Parade in Kazakhstan". The Gazette of Central Asia (Satrapia). 7 May 2013. 
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ For early information on Kazakstan's land forces, see also 'Kazakstan's Defence Profile Revealed,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 9 October 1993
  6. ^ Machine translated and cleaned up from a Russian source at 'Military-political safety of Kazakhstan'
  7. ^ a b Most specific unit information, including military unit numbers, locations, etc is sourced from Vad777, Kazakh Ground Forces, accessed February 2010
  8. ^ History of the Airmobile Forces of Kazakhstan,
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d e f g IISS 2009 The Military Balance 2010, p364
  12. ^ "Kazakhstan's News Bulletin, April 11, 2007". Retrieved 2010-11-27. 
  13. ^ UNITED NATIONS - Office for Disarmament Affairs
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i IISS 2009 The Military Balance 2010, p365
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Kazakhstan Special Forces Adopt Beretta ARX-160 in 7.62x39mm -, May 8, 2013
  18. ^
  19. ^ Michael Holm, 24th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Division, accessed October 2011. Note division was given as the 11th in Kazakhstan AF Restructures, Jane's Defence Weekly, 25 September 1993
  20. ^ Michael Holm, 134th Fighter-Bomber Aviation Regiment; Military Unit: 13764, accessed August 2011
  21. ^ Vad777,, July 2010
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n World Air Forces 2013"., December 11, 2012.
  23. ^
  24. ^ AirForces Monthly. Stamford, Lincolnshire, England: Key Publishing Ltd. June 2013. p. 26. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Kazakhstan buys 2 additional Airbus Military C295 cargo plane". October 24, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b EC725#cite note-3
  29. ^ ВВС Казахстана
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ Defense Industry Daily, EADS-Signs-its-Own-Titanium-Deal-with-Kazakhstan
  33. ^|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE
  34. ^
  35. ^ Military Balance in Europe 2011"., March 07, 2011.
  36. ^ Military Balance in Asia 2011"., March 07, 2011, page 55-56.
  37. ^
  38. ^
  • CIA World Factbook, 2003 edition.
  • See also Abai TASBULATOV, The Kazakhstani Republican Guard: Its Record and Development Prospects, Military Thought, No. 4, 2009, page(s): 136-142

External links

  • Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies, Issue 11, 2010, Security and Defense Reform in Post Soviet Central Asia
  • Building National Armies - Kazakhstan
  • Kazakh armored forces parade

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