Structure of Kazakhstan's Defense Industry Complex

In the contemporary world, military power and technological self-sufficiency play a pivotal role in ensuring national security and geopolitical influence.

10/08/2023 - 21:05

The development of an industrial defense complex capable of providing the country with its own advanced military systems and resources takes on particular significance. Discussing the intricacies of the domestic defense industry, Colonel Erzhan Aitakov, Head of the Department of Military-Technical Policy at the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan, shared insights in a feature by

According to Aitakov, the entire defense industry in the country is overseen by the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Defense, as the primary recipient, plays an active role in this process, determining the design, technical specifications, and quantities for requested products. The technical experts of the Ministry of Defense establish the concept of the required products, as they possess unparalleled knowledge of how the future product will be employed within units.

Simultaneously, the Ministry of Defense remains forward-looking, analyzing the experiences of other nations and conflicts to identify priority directions for the development of the domestic defense-industrial complex. In Aitakov's perspective, contemporary tools of warfare, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, counter-battery warfare, high-precision ammunition, and modern communication systems, now take precedence.

Highlighting prospective projects, Aitakov mentioned that domestic defense industry representatives are currently developing targets for air defense forces. These targets will simplify the training system for air defense operators without requiring substantial resources for actual targets. The target complex was showcased to Ministry of Defense representatives and, after receiving feedback and recommendations, it was sent for further refinement. Following the necessary adjustments, developers will conduct another demonstration, and in the event of a positive evaluation, the acquisition of these targets will be considered.

Furthermore, numerous developments are occurring in the realm of simulators. For instance, the production of various combat simulators is ongoing in Almaty. According to MIIR RK (Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan) data, the facility manufactures simulators for almost all types of military equipment in service with the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan: from trucks and armored vehicles to tanks, helicopters, and missile system simulators. Such simulators allow soldiers to hone their skills and simulate various situations on the battlefield.

"Simulators are often underestimated, yet they are a crucial facet of the defense-industrial complex," noted Aitakov.

Aitakov firmly believes that the domestic defense-industrial complex must be 100% localized and nearly independent from imports. Given the disruptions evident in supply chains during combat conditions, a domestic producer would be better positioned to provide timely repairs and supply of equipment.

When procuring military equipment, priority is always accorded to domestic manufacturers. If the domestic defense industry cannot meet the needs of the armed forces, cooperation with foreign companies is organised. Collaborating nations are identified, negotiations are initiated, and the products undergo the state defense order procedure.

Commenting on the recent IDEF defense exhibition in Istanbul, Colonel Aitakov emphasized that it is a primary avenue for identifying foreign partners and monitoring available armaments and military technology. During this event, the Ministry of Defense delegation evaluated around 1,500 weapon specimens.

Particular attention was drawn to underwater drones. Given ongoing conflicts, unmanned systems, especially maritime drones, represent one of the most promising projects. The Ministry is currently collaborating with the navy to explore potential acquisitions.

"Our main limitation is that much of the products are experimental, and they have not yet entered mass production. According to our acceptance rules, this slightly complicates the process. If certain weapons are adopted by other countries, this will significantly expedite our own adoption process."

Addressing industry development, Aitakov considers repair to be a crucial element of any equipment production.

"At times, repair seems easier, but it's not. If a facility is capable of localizing factory repairs, transitioning to assembly work becomes much simpler, as the technical nuances of the equipment are already well understood."

For example, repairing aircraft requires expertise in avionics, which is a highly specialized field. If the domestic defense industry can offer comprehensive repair capabilities, it would lay the foundation for broader domestic production.

Another factor that the domestic defense industry must address is export potential. Domestic needs are limited, and to be economically viable, external clients must be sought. There is no advanced nation that exports at least half of its products.

Additionally, factories must produce not only military but also civilian goods. This diversification ensures economic productivity in the face of reduced military orders.

Kazakhstan's defense industry continues to grow and evolve. Through ambitious collaboration programs with leading global players in the defense and technology sector, Kazakhstan is charting paths to innovative solutions that promise to revitalize the industry.



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