Central Asian countries arming themselves with drones

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Central Asian countries, although devoid of military conflicts, have also begun transitioning to drones, Exclusive.kz reports. This is due to the increasing global proliferation of unmanned aerial vehicles.

For instance, Turkmenistan has acquired Turkish UAVs Bayraktar, Belarusian drones "Busel," Chinese turbofan UAVs of rocket type, and Israeli kamikaze drones SkyStriker.

According to Tajik media reports, Dushanbe applied for the acquisition of Iranian drones Ababil-2 as early as 2022. Additionally, several "Puma" UAVs were obtained through cooperation with the USA. Consideration was also given to purchasing Turkish Bayraktars.

Kyrgyzstan has acquired Turkish UAVs "Akıncı" and "Akınsungur." This was announced by the head of the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan, Kamchybek Tashiev, during a meeting of the Kyrgyz government in October 2023.

At that time, he emphasized that 120 billion soms, equivalent to $1.3 billion, had been spent on rearming the Kyrgyz army with modern weapons over 2.5 years. Apart from these UAVs, Kyrgyzstan has purchased individual UAVs from China, Germany, and the UAE.

The Uzbek army is already equipped with Turkish and Chinese strike-operational-tactical UAVs "Bayraktar TB-2" and "Wing Loong-I."

In November 2023, they, together with Russian reconnaissance "Orlan" UAVs, were officially demonstrated by the Uzbek media.

It was also announced that Uzbekistan has established production of its own vertical takeoff and landing strike-reconnaissance UAVs Lochin.

In 2021, Kazakhstan conducted test flights of its reconnaissance UAV complex "Shaghala." However, there is no precise information yet whether they have been deployed in the Kazakh army.

In 2022, Kazakhstan signed a memorandum of military-technical cooperation with Turkish Aerospace, under which assembly and technical maintenance of Anka strike UAVs in Kazakhstan will commence soon.

Additionally, the Kazakh army possesses reconnaissance-strike UAVs from China Wing Loong (GL-1), Russian "Orlan-10," and Israeli Skylark-1LEX.

Regarding other types of weaponry whose relevance has become evident in recent years, among the Central Asian countries, only Kazakhstan is attempting to establish production of its own electronic warfare means like "Korgan" and "Sunkar." All other countries in the region prefer developments from Russian manufacturers.


May 8, 2024