Kazakhstan isn’t particularly known for its defense industry — the infrastructure for which it largely inherited from the Soviet Union — but with a deal to sell tanks to Jordan the Central Asian country continues pushing into a new industry.
During a visit to Jordan this week, the Kazakh defense minister, Imangali Tasmagambetov, reportedly signed an agreement on military and tech cooperation. “The signed agreements will boost cooperation between the armed forces and defense industries of the two countries,” the ministry said, according to Trend. Among the agreements was one relating to the Jordanian purchase of Kazakh-produced armored vehicles.
In December, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering (KPE), a joint venture between South Africa’s Paramount Group and Kazakhstan Engineering, began production at a facility to build armored vehicles in Kazakhstan. After Kazakhstan itself, Jordan is KPE’s first customer. But the Paramount Group is also pursuing a separate joint venture with King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB) to produce armored vehicles for Jordan which will be manufactured in Jordan and South Africa.
In the meantime, however, Jordan seems to be moving forward with the deal to buy Arlan armored vehicles from Kazakhstan.
According to TASS, the Arlan armored vehicle is designed for “remote firing and observation in all weather and lighting conditions, is capable of withstanding 50 kg of explosives in TNT equivalent from the side or 8 kg and 14 kg correspondingly under the vehicle and under wheels.”
Jordan also confirmed that it would take part in Kazakhstan’s 4th defense expo — KADEX-2016 — scheduled for June. The expo is held every other year in Astana and aims to introduce the domestic Kazakh defense industry to wider opportunities and similarly bring foreign defense companies to Kazakhstan, for both production and partnership.
According to SIPRI data, Kazakhstan fairly consistently spends about 1.1 percent of its GDP on military expenditures. In 2014 this amounted to more than 2.3 billion dollars. Much of Kazakhstan’s military equipment was inherited from the Soviet Union — T-72 and T-62 main battle tanks, several varieties of BTR armored personnel carriers, MiG-31s and Su-24s, and so on. Aside from training exercises (and Russia’s tank biathlon) a large portion of that equipment is in storage and doesn’t get much use, although last year Kazakhstan put its military on display during a massive parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of World War II.