Kazakhstan Navy

The Navy is the youngest force of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan’s Naval Forces were established by President Nazarbayev’s Decree of 7 May 2003. It was formed for the protection of economic interests and territorial integrity in the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea. The other tasks of the Navy include assistance in the protection of environment in the Caspian, implementation of search and rescue operations at sea, and protection of strategically important objects, ports, and artificial islands. The Navy is also to suppress all forms of piracy, terrorism, smuggling, and drug trafficking.

To meet these goals, Kazakhstan planned to create a network of small patrol boats with a displacement of about 250-300 tonnes. They will be used in the shallow northern part of the Caspian Sea. This class of ships can be produced domestically. For the deep southern parts of the Sea, ships with a displacement of 500 tonnes must be used that will be purchased from other countries. As of 2010 they include a naval flotilla, naval infantry and coastal artillery. The main base is the port of Aktau.

In the mid-1990s, plans called for developing a military force including ground forces, air forces, and a navy (for deployment in the Caspian Sea). According to national defense doctrine, Kazakstan had a minimal requirement for naval forces. In late 1993, Kazakstan received about 25 percent of the patrol boats and cutters in Russia's Caspian Sea Flotilla, which subsequently constituted the entire naval force. In 1993 naval bases were planned for Fort Shevchenko on the Caspian Sea and at Aral, north of the Aral Sea, but a scarcity of funds delayed completion. Likewise, naval air bases were planned for Aqtau and the Buzachiy Peninsula on the Caspian Sea and at Saryshaghan on Lake Balkhash.

The Navy was established by the Presidential edict ?1085 dated 07 May 2003 "About further improvement of the structure of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The main tasks of the Navy are:

  • Protection of immunity of national borders, territorial integrity, sovereignty and economic interests of Kazakhstan in the Kazakhstani sector of Caspian sea.
  • Holding off an attack and inflicting defeat to aggressor, participation in localization and extinction of armed conflicts.
  • Protection and defense of water regions, including port zones, platforms and artificial islands with oil production facilities on them.
  • Countering underwater-sabotage activities.
  • Naval support of Land Forces, support of amphibious landing, force and materials transportation, sea mines disposal.
  • Reconnaissance including radar surveillance in the sea in support of countries Air Defense .
  • Fulfillment of the tasks on collective defense in accordance with international agreements jointly with Navy of Caspian region countries.
  • Piloting of tankers and other civilian crafts.
  • Navigational-hydrographical support of navigation.
  • Search and rescue operations on sea in conjunction with Ministry of Emergency of Kazakhstan.
  • Working out the combat training missions jointly with other units of Armed Forces, other forces and military formations.
  • Training of naval specialists on the base of Navy Institute.
  • Assistance to the state bodies of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the execution of nature-oriented and control activities, response to the natural disasters and accidents on sea.

Navy structure is determined by Presidential Decree and consist of:

  • Administration bodies
  • Branches of forces
  • Special forces
  • Logistics service
  • Military-Educational Institutions

The Aktau base has a separate division of heterogeneous vehicles. Kazakhstan was slated to receive the USCGC Mariposa (WLB-397), a Basswood-class 180-foot buoy tender originally built in 1944, through the EDA program. However, due to the disruption in the security-cooperation programs caused by the MiG-21 sale to North Korea, the deal was cancelled in 1999. The division includes three small patrol boats and a hydrographic ship. A hydrographic service with five lighthouses has been established in Aktau as well. The small patrol boats were delivered from the Republic of Korea in 2006. They were the fastest ships on the Caspian Sea and can reach the speed of 38 knots.

Aktau, situated on the Caspian coast and the capital of Mangystau Oblast, is poised to become Kazakhstan's next boomtown. With four major ports in operation or under construction by 2008, and improving road and rail infrastructure in Mangystau Oblast, Aktau is perfectly situated to become a key Caspian transportation hub. Revenue from oil and gas, while already a major earner for the city and the oblast, is likely to only increase with the development of "N" block and the Zhemchuzhina field. Several other significant projects are also underway in the region, including the construction of a new downtown in Aktau which will double the size of the city ("Aktau City" with a projected ultimate cost of $38 billion) and the creation of a major resort complex, with 23 hotels and a new international airport. Aktau, located on shores of the Caspian and the capital of Mangystau Oblast, was only settled in 1961 and shows signs of its youth. The city's streets are not named, and camels still roam free on the road between the airport and the city.

Kazakhstan planned to buy three patrol boats and three corvettes by the end of 2010. Those ships could patrol Caspian waters up to 150 kilometres from the coast, as opposed to the coast guard's 25 kilometres range. By the end of the 2010, Kazakhstan could conclude another agreement for three corvettes. Kazakhstan remained “in negotiations” with a French-South Korean consortium STX over the larger ship, according to the Commander of Kazakhstan’s Navy Zhandarbek Zhanzakov. In-Kyu Kim, STX's general manager for the Special and Naval Ship Business Division, said initial plans called for the corvettes to be armed with Exocet missiles, which are designed for use against other warships.

On 20 November 2005 Commander-in-Chief of Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, Zhandarbek Zhanzakov, informed journalists that Rocket-artillery ship will be constructed in Kazakhstan. "We will conclude the contract on construction of the new rocket-artillery ship, which will be constructed by the domestic enterprise - Uralsk factory Zenith," Z. Zhanzakov informed. The main goals of the Navies of Kazakhstan for 2010 is formation of a group of diverse ships in the western strategic direction, creation of the coastal navies infrastructure, further improvement of training-fighting, and training of the crew of the ships.

The Kazakhstan Navy acquired the first Kazakh made missile and artillery ship named "Kazakhstan". The vessel was assembled at the Uralsk-based plant Zenit. Kazakh Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov personally inspected the technical features of the new ship. The vessel with a displacement of 240 tons can reach speeds of 30 knots. The length of the vessel 46 meters and it is 9 meters in width. It is equipped with ultramodern navigation systems, onboard desalination plant, thanks to which the ship can be at sea for 10 days. The vessel is equipped with modernized anti-aircraft missile and artillery units. At the end of April 2012, the ship entered the Caspian Sea through the Ural River and in August it was to take final tests. After that, the ship would be engaged in the patrolling of Kazakhstan’s territorial waters.

Kazakhstan’s naval forces received a new rocket artillery ship named “Kazakhstan” in August 2012. The combat ship was built at the Uralsk-based “Zenit” plant and its official testing was conducted in the Caspian Sea. It was the first time the domestic armed forces had received a ship of this class. The vessel’s systems were carefully inspected during the final tests. A rocket volley artillery fire system is the “Kazakhstan” ship’s main weaponry. During the firing session, the team showed excellent knowledge of the new equipment. All of the ship’s systems operate flawlessly as well. A powerful engine, navigation and communications give this vessel and its crew every opportunity to perform combat missions. According to the military, the ship fully complies with the customer’s requirements. Following the tests, the state commission members allotted the “Kazakhstan” ship to the country’s navy. The shipbuilding program will not stop there.

Naval mariners noted that the “Zenit” plant had already started building hulls of new modern ships, which are destined to replenish the country’s naval forces in the years to come. In the two coming years [i, 2013 and 2014e], another two ships were expected to be adopted in the naval forces of the country. In 2016, the country will launch a training station designed for marine crew training for rescuing a ship in emergency situations. Thanks to its characteristics, the first Kazakh made vessel "Kazakhstan" is on level with its foreign counterparts, experts say.

Kazakhstan’s Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov said he was convinced that the nation’s Caspian shores are under effective protection after having visited the Aktau-based garrison in October 2010. The visit allowed the Minister to see the development of the Kazakh Naval Forces, as well as the situation in the garrison in general. During his latest visit to Aktau, Dzhaksybekov noted that in 2012, the Naval Forces will add another rocket-artillery ship, which will be produced by a domestic enterprise, the "Zenit" Plant in Uralsk city. In May, it will be commissioned in the Jaik (Ural) River and head to the Caspian Sea, and in August of the same year, the ship will pass final tests.

To familiarise with the garrison infrastructure, Dzhaksybekov also visited existing facilities and those under construction. Two residential buildings for military personnel will open by the end of this year in Aktau garrison, whereas late next year, officers, soldiers and sailors will receive keys to theapartments in the 120-appartment block. “We are implementing the strategic objectives stated by President Nazarbayev to create a professional army capable of rapid forces and resources deployment,” the Minister concluded, addressing the military staff in Aktau.

Russia has not been an enthusiastic supporter of the creation of the Kazakh Navy or Airmobile Forces. The formation of the Kazakh Navy was not originally supported (Russia has since begin to warm to the idea) due to the Caspian states arguing over the status of the Caspian. Russia has no desire to support a militarization of the Caspian.

Tehran still considered half of the Caspian Sea to be its own territorial waters and the emergence of Kazakh naval cutters in it would be viewed as an attack on Iran, according to Iranian navy commander Rear-Admiral Abbas Mohtaj, according to Kazakh Commercial TV in Almaty on May 17, 2002. Iranian Supreme Council of National Security Secretary Hassan Rouhani also noted that Tehran is concerned about Kazakhstan's plan, since, according to the information provided by the Iranian side, Kazakhstan's refusal to coordinate the its armed forces activities fails to conform to the CIS Collective Security Treaty [CST] terms. Ultimately, Tehran thinks that the Kazakh marines will be under the control of America.

Kazakstan Navy Equipment

1995 2000 2005 2010 2013 2015 2020 2025 2030
Personnel ,000 - - + 3 3 3 3 3 3
Active -- -- + 3 3 3 3 3 3
Reserve -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Ships Source Tons Year Inventory
Fast-attack craft ... ... ... ... 1 1 1 1 1
Kazakstan Project 20970 RU / KAZ 285 2010 -- -- -- -- 1 1 1 1 1
Patrol, Inshore ... 1 2 4 5 5 5 5 5
Sardar Project 22180 RU / KAZ 240 1999 -- -- -- 2 3 3 3 3 3
AB 25 PCI TUR 170 1999 -- 11 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
Patrol Craft, Fast ... 1 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
Sea Dolphin PKM 200 ROK 143 2006 -- -- 3 3 3 3 3 3 3
Berkut Project 1400M RU 40 1998 -- 11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

    1 - Prior to 2003, these craft were operated by the Maritime Border Guard.

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