Kazakhstan Air Force Modernization
Russian MiG-31 interceptors are the mainstay of Kazakhstan’s Air Force, though many are now 25 years old or more, and in desperate need of modernization. Because many of these aircraft are so old, Russian manufacturing plants often lack qualified technical staff to update and repair them. Modernizing all aircraft in Kazakhstan’s air force is regarded by the MoD as an unrealistically expensive option. In November 2007, Kazakhstan signed an agreement with Belarus to modernize 10 Russian made Su-27 fighters at the Baranavichy based aircraft repair plant for Kazakhstan’s Air Force. To date, the air force had a quite modern fleet of aircraft based on multifunctional fighter Su-27, which in recent years have not only a complete overhaul, but also upgrades. And now they are classified as aircraft generation "4 +".
The most promising is the acquisition in the air force fleet of Kazakhstan multifunctional MiG-35. Kazakhstan is interested in Russian multi-purpose fighter MiG-35 demonstrated at the Second International Exhibition Of Armament And Military Technical Property KADEX-2012, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports citing deputy Director of the Federal Military-Technical Cooperation Service of Russia Konstantin Biryulin as saying. “At the first day of the exhibition we showed MiG-35 to the President of Kazakhstan. He checked it out and asked very professional questions about its technical characteristics. This is a 4++ generation plane. Kazakhstan Air Forces are interested in this plane,” he told the journalists. “Probably, this is the subject of our further cooperation with Kazakhstan.” MiG-35 fighter has dropped out of the bidding of Indian Air Forces suppliers. However, according to RosOboronExport management, it will find its niche at the world’s military aviation market.
The aircraft fleet of Kazakhstan Air Force will be replenished by C-295 aircraft of Airbus European aviation concern. The contract for their supply was signed between the agency authorized for export and import of arms and military equipment of the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan – "Kazspetsexport" Republican State Enterprise and the structural unit of Airbus concern – Airbus.
The first two aircraft will be delivered to Kazakhstan at the beginning of 2013. Additional Memorandum of mutual understanding for delivery of six more C-295 aircraft has been signed. The relevant contracts will be signed sequentially over the next few years. Thus, until the end of 2018 the fleet of military transport aviation of Kazakhstan Air Force will be equipped by eight C-295 aircraft. In the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding Airbus Military will transfer technological information for aircraft maintenance in order Kazakh military specialists could operate C-295 aircraft.
Before signing the contract of supply C-295 military transport aircraft, specialists of Air Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan conducted a thorough monitoring of the market of military transport aircraft. They studied various options. Good stability, handling and high flexibility are the obvious advantages of C- 295 aircraft, which allow us to fly at extremely low altitude.
When designing an aircraft the manufacturing company took into account the requirements for aircraft navigation system of civil and military aviation, the ability to take off and landing on the artificial and ground, shortened landing strips. The reliability of the automatic control of the engine, the efficiency of anti-icing system and increase survivability in an emergency became significant descriptions during the selection. Fuel consumption per hour of C-295 aircraft is two times less than other similar aircraft. The aircraft has a large range - more than 5500 km. Capabilities of C-295 aircraft in combination with economic efficiency gave the advantage among alternative proposals to renew the fleet of military transport aircraft. It should be noted that this airplane is successfully used in the Air Force of such countries as Spain, France, Czech Republic, Finland and others. Kazakhstan became the first customer of C-295 aircraft in the CIS region.
“Airbus Military Company is extremely proud of the fact that the Ministry of Defence of Kazakhstan expressed its confidence in the company's product. We will use best efforts to justify the credibility” Head of Aircraft programs of Airbus Military, Rafael Tentor assured. Acquisition of aircraft C-295 has been reviewed and approved in May 2011 at a meeting of the Coordinating Council on equipping the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan with modern weapons and military equipment. The result of updating the aircraft fleet will be creation of a group of military transport aviation, capable of carrying out the transfer of troops, weapons and military equipment to any strategic direction without intermediate landings for refueling.
The Eurocopter/Kazakhstan Engineering joint venture calls for the assembly and customization of EC145s in Astana, Kazakhstan. This organization will be formally established by December of 2010, allowing completion of the first in-country helicopters – to be called the KH145 – by late 2011. According to the MOU, the 45 KH145s acquired by Kazakhstan will be assembled during a six-year period. The latest bookings – announced at the KADEX-2012 military exposition in Astana – consist of six EC145s in a medical evacuation configuration for the Ministry of Emergency Situations, along with two to be operated by the Ministry of Defense for search and rescue missions. They follow Kazakhstan’s initial acquisition of six similarly-configured EC145s in 2011, which were assembled and delivered during 2011 to both of the government ministries.
Kazakhstan signed a letter of intent in May 2012 to acquire 20 Eurocopter EC725 helicopters, marking a major new commitment for this medium-lift rotorcraft. These aircraft, which will be assembled in Kazakhstan, will be used by the country’s Ministry of Defense in a full range of mission applications. The agreement, formalized at this month’s KADEX-2012 military exposition in Astana, further expands Kazakhstan’s relationship as a Eurocopter helicopter operator and industrial partner.
Russia is set to supply fellow former Soviet nation Kazakhstan with S-300 air defense systems free-of-charge, a top Russian military official said 31 January 2014. Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, who was part of a military delegation traveling to the Central Asian state, said five battalions of S-300PS systems would be supplied from the arsenals of the Russian army. Delivery of the systems will improve protection of Kazakhstan’s airspace as well as strengthen the air defense network of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization military alliance, Antonov said.
Moscow signed an agreement to set up an integrated regional air defense network with Kazakhstan in 2013. The S-300PS (SA-10 Grumble) model was introduced to Soviet armed forces in 1985. It features 5V55R missiles with an engagement range of up to 90 kilometers (56 miles) and designed to lock in on a target after launch using an active detection system that steers the missile directly at the target. An S-300 battalion comprises up to six mobile launchers, according to estimates by military experts. Kazakhstan reportedly has several S-300 systems deployed, mainly around the capital, Astana.
Kazakhstan’s armed forces would receive two Su-30 multirole fighters and two Mi-17 transport helicopters from Russia in 2016 as part of existing contracts, Kazakhstan’s Deputy Defense Minister Okas Saparov told Sputnik on 07 September 2016. "We received four Su-30s from Russia in 2014, two more this year," Saparov said at the Army-2016 military forum, adding that two Mi-17s would enter into service in 2016, followed by more next year. Moreover, Kazakhstan plans to sign a contract on the purchase of four Russian Mi-35 helicopters by the end of 2016, Kazakh Deputy Defense Minister Okas Saparov told Sputnik. “This year we will sign another contract on four Mi-35s,” Saparov said at the Army-2016 military forum, adding that four of the attack helicopters with transport capabilities planned to be delivered as part of the 2015 contract.
On 01 September 2021 the Republic of Kazakhstan placed an order for two Airbus A400M aircraft and becomes the ninth operator together with Germany, France, United Kingdom, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Malaysia and Luxembourg. With delivery of the first aircraft scheduled in 2024, the contract includes a complete suite of maintenance and training support. Together with the agreement a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed to collaborate on Maintenance and Overhaul services and with a first step of creating a local C295 maintenance center.
”The A400M will become the cornerstone of Kazakhstan’s tactical and strategic airlifting operations,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space. “This new export contract brings the total number of A400M orders to 176 aircraft, a figure that we expect to increase in the near future. With more than 100 aircraft delivered and 100,000 flight hours in operation, the A400M has proven its capabilities, reaching a state of maturity that many potential customers were waiting for.”
With the capacity to accommodate the country’s inventory and conduct military, civil and humanitarian missions, the A400M will enable Kazakhstan to quickly respond to any mission by rapidly deploying game-changing capabilities over long distances and enabling effective access to remote areas.
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