Kazakhstan has refuted media reports claiming that the country intends to bolster its national military force with Turkish-made wheeled armored combat vehicles.
“The information that circulated on social networks regarding Kazakhstan’s Defense Ministry and the Turkish company Otokar reaching an agreement to purchase armored vehicles worth approximately two trillion tenge is false,” Interfax quoted a statement issued by the ministry on Wednesday.
“As of now, there are no existing agreements for the supply of armored vehicles from the Turkish side,” the ministry added.
This statement came in response to some media reports suggesting that the Kazakh government plans to buy 834 armored vehicles from a Turkish company at a total cost of two trillion tenge, equivalent to about $4.5 billion.
The Kazakh military has been conducting tests on the military vehicle manufactured by Turkish land vehicles maker Otokar for about a year. Otokar provided the vehicles for these tests, which involved rigorous assessments of tactical, technical, firing, and operational features, as well as experimental military operations in diverse climatic conditions.
“Currently, both a sample of 8x8 armored vehicles of this company and a sample of domestic armored vehicles are undergoing experimental tests. The outcomes of these tests will determine the appropriate equipment model that aligns with the technical requirements,” the ministry’s statement reads.
The ARMA 8x8 is a cutting-edge armored combat vehicle known for its exceptional terrain adaptability and modular design. It offers unmatched protection and firepower capabilities within its class, weighing a maximum of 40 tons and powered by a 720 HP engine. The ARMA can integrate heavy weapon systems up to 120 mm caliber, boasting enhanced payload capacity and advanced protection features. Additionally, it is the only vehicle in its weight class with amphibious capability.
The vehicle’s armored monocoque V-shaped steel hull ensures ample internal capacity despite its low silhouette. Its modular design allows for flexible installation of various weapon systems and equipment tailored to specific mission requirements. The ARMA can transport up to 12 personnel, including a driver and a commander.
Kazakhstan, with a population of 19.5 million, possesses the second-largest military power in Central Asia, ranking 63 out of 145 countries, according to Global Firepower’s 2023 report. Rankings are based on the strength of individual combat arms, the number of servicemen, the length of a country’s borders, and factors such as oil reserves and labor availability.
Meanwhile, officials in Kazakhstan are working on upgrading the country’s military equipment, some of which was inherited from the Soviet Union when it dissolved in December 1991.
According to Global Firepower data, Kazakhstan’s army is equipped with 300 tanks, 5,172 armored fighting vehicles, 407 rocket projectors, 237 military aircraft, 15 military naval vessels, and 25 combat helicopters.
In 2022, Kazakhstan’s military budget experienced a significant decrease of nearly one and a half times compared to the 2019 figures, amounting to $1.1 billion, equivalent to 517 billion tenge. The military budget stood at $1.8 billion in 2019, $1.5 billion in 2020, and $1.6 billion in 2021.