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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Emba Test Range
47 07' N 55 25' E
48 49' N 58 07' E

The Emba testing grounds is where the air defense systems of F300, Buk, Tor and Tunguzka were tested. The location of this facility is a bit uncertain, since there are two places called "Emba" -- one near the Caspian Sea coast [which is almost certainly the location of the test range], and the other further inland, about 18 nm NW of Mugodzarskaja.

The testing grounds have an area of about 750 hectares. The gigantic Soviet firing range and scientific-research center of Emba, which had no equal in the world, ended up in Kazakhstan territory. There was no discussion about keeping Emba as a center for the practical training of cadre for combat aviation and PVO troops of all CIS countries. As a result, the range's personnel left, whoever could find a job where ever they could, and the entire unique infrastructure was destroyed or simply plundered.

The testing grounds' legal status was a problem because many Russians living there did not have Russian passports. As of early 1998 Russia did not plan to leave the military testing grounds of Saryshagan, Emba and Baykonur it rented from Kazakhstan. No place as suited for missile firings and bombing as Emba was found in Russia's enormous territory, although specialists have looked throughout the entire country for a base for a new firing range. The size of the range at Kapustin Yar, not far from Volgograd and the Ashuluk Range, next to Astrakhan permits the effective testing of only medium- and short-range SAM's. But problems arise with firing from S-300's, let alone S-400's. Nevertheless, it is possible to sharpen combat skills at these locations, and it is permissible to test new equipment, even under the stress of all forces and equipment.

Beginning in August 1999, in compliance with a resolution of the Russian government, the test range of the Defence Ministry of Russia was redisposed from Emba to the State central proving ground in the Russian city of Kapustin Yar. The unification of the two missile ranges will allow to reduce the number of servicemen by nearly 1,500 without detriment to tests and cut state expenses for their maintenance by 91 million roubles [$3.75 million] annually. About 3,000 staffers, including 650 officers, 315 warrant officers, about 1,000 soldiers and 1,000 civilian staffers, were stationed at the testing grounds in Kazakhstan. By January 2000 "landing areas" had been transfered from Kazakhstan to the territory of Russia, and the Defense Ministry stopped leasing the huge sites which until recently cost the budget $15 million annually. The last train from Emba arrived at Kapustin Yar in December 1999, completing the transfer of the test range to Kapustin Yar.

The Emba River in Kazakhstan flows some 400 miles (~600 km) southwest to the Caspian Sea. Rich petroleum fields are located along the lower course of the river. Embamunaigaz, located in Northwest Kazakhstan, is one of the Central Asian state's largest oil production enterprises. The enterprise's oil quality is high, with proven reserves of 507 million barrels. Embamunaigaz's 1996 crude oil production was 12.68 mmb (253,600 bpd), up from 11.97 mmb (239,400 bpd) in 1995. In 1999 JSC EmbaMunaiGas announced its merger with another Kazakhstani oil and gas producer, TenizMunaiGas, to form a new company, KazakhOil-Emba. Both companies are based in Western Kazakhstan.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:47:35 ZULU