ASTANA – This month marks an important date for the Naval Forces of Kazakhstan. They were established exactly thirty years ago as part of the Armed Forces to protect the state border and strategic facilities such as Aktau, Bautino and Kuryk seaports, artificial islands, pipelines and deposits on the Kazakh sector of the Caspian Sea.
Ten years later, the navy became an independent branch of the nation’s armed forces after a decree aimed at improving their structure. They are considered an elite force in Kazakhstan. “Only courageous and responsible soldiers who are devoted to their homeland can serve in the Naval Forces,” according to the Defense Ministry.
Equipped with modern ships, weapons and devices, the forces ensure navigational and hydrographic support for the safety at sea. In the event of emergencies, the naval mariners participate in search and rescue operations together with the Ministry of Emergency Situations, assist in environmental protection measures and elimination of environmental disasters.
Officers commanding the ships received training in leading military schools in China, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Türkiye and the United States. Specialists also train at the Aktau training center of the Naval Forces.
Last year, the Kazakh crew came second in the Sea Cup international army games, held in Azerbaijan.
Kazakh Navy fleet
When the Naval Forces became an independent branch of the Armed Forces in 2003, then Minister of Defense Mukhtar Altynbayev raised the need to ensure the security of the oil zones in the Caspian Sea.
Afterwards, Kazakhstan began to expand its naval fleet. In 2005, the naval base in Aktau received U.S. Defender class boats. Three artillery boats of the Sea dolphin type were purchased from South Korea, while the Zhaiyk hydrographic vessel was included in the navy to perform special tasks.
Gradually, additional ships and equipment were acquired, including missile and artillery ships, the Alatau raid minesweeper, seven Kortik ship weapon systems, four landing boats, and the Ural hydrographic vessel. The flagship of the Naval Forces is a missile and artillery Kazakh ship that was introduced in 2012.
The naval forces use developed infrastructure, including a training center that contains simulators, a logistics base, a ship deployment point, and an infirmary.
Victory Day parade, which usually takes place in May, is a significant event for the national navy to display its capabilities. The Kazakhstan missile and artillery vessel and the Zhaiyk hydrographic vessel were on show on May 7 in 2013 at a military parade, showcasing their capabilities in the Kazakh part of the Caspian Sea.
The article was originally published in Kazinform.