Sappers, being the first responders in explosive situations and pivotal to the mitigation of their aftermath, are tasked with the essential duty of clearing ordnance-ridden areas.
The Battalion Commander of Demining Troops in Military Unit 19033, Lieutenant Colonel Bakhyt Abdullaev, has shared insights with Sarbaz.kz on the process of becoming a sapper in Kazakhstan.
"Officers of the engineering troops specializing in demining undergo training at the Institute of Ground Forces located in Almaty. Additionally, they attend courses to enhance their qualifications at the Demining Center of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan, situated in Konyaev, Almaty Region. Subsequently, officers train conscripts in the art of sapper operations," stated Bakhyt Abdullaev.
Concurrently, conscripts of the compulsory service can find themselves assigned to either engineering-sapper brigades or regiments. The recruits' preferences dictate their placement in "demining" or "technical personnel" roles.
Further education occurs at the Demining Center for enlisted personnel, group leaders specializing in explosive detection, identification, and disposal. This encompasses training courses and retraining programs for personnel across all armed forces, equipping them with the skills in mine laying and clearance. Notably, the center often hosts sappers from other nations for instruction.
As shared by Bakhyt Abdullaev, Kazakhstani sappers utilize two distinct types of specialized attire.
The Russian-manufactured blast-resistant suit "Dospekhi" (trans. Armour) safeguards against explosions, overpressure from shockwaves, shrapnel, heat, open flames, and cushioning against impact in the event of a fall.
This suit also enables the neutralisation of improvised explosive devices. With a weight of 27 kg, including the helmet, it consists of two layers: a protective layer and an adjacent body-fitting protective screen. This suit's cooling system permits operators to endure temperatures of up to +500 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes.
The second variant of attire, employed by the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan and locally produced in Aktau, is a lightweight suit designed to shield against explosives. It offers protection from shrapnel, excess blast wave force, and flames. This protective suit proves particularly useful in the transportation and unloading of explosive materials. Weighing 7 kg, plus a 4.5 kg panel, it proves remarkably ergonomic and practical for operational tasks.