March 2, 2024

Balkan Travellers

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Fighter: Kazakhstan has no interest in Rafale

Fighter: Kazakhstan has no interest in Rafale

During his visit to Astana on November 1, President Macron called for “accelerating” the partnership between France and Kazakhstan, a country rich in natural resources, particularly uranium, and land that is important for climate change.

But beyond the economic aspects, the tenant of the Élysée also wanted to welcome Kazakhstan’s “refusal” to “follow the path of enslavement behind a few powers,” in an indirect reference to Russia. […] In a world where great powers seek to become dominant and regional powers become unpredictable.”

However, this disengagement from Moscow does not mean that Astana is on the verge of seriously rethinking its alliances in order to move closer to the Western model… However, Kazakhstan is reported to consider acquiring Rafale fighter-bombers from France. Until recently, especially because of the country’s Soviet past, such a prospect was unimaginable. In addition, it will require a radical change in the doctrine of the country’s air forces, not forgetting the need to make huge investments in infrastructure, appropriate ammunition, training of pilots and technicians.

Also, for the sale of such important military equipment [car il s’agit de nouer un partenariat sur plusieurs décennies, ndlr] Good economic and business relations are not enough: there must also be common strategic interests between the seller and the customer. This is not yet the case between France and Kazakhstan.

Already, this Central Asian country is one of the founders of the Joint Defense Treaty Organization with Russia. [OTSC] As with NATO, it provides for a collective defense clause among its members. We can always imagine a departure from this framework, as Armenia is considering…but for now, Astana shows no signs in this direction.

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And then, Kazakhstan, whose population is almost 20% Russian, is home to the Baikonur space center… and Moscow is unlikely to agree to do without it. Finally, the Kazakh Air Force has already undertaken modernization of its fleet of fighter jets, notably through the purchase of Sukhoi Su-30s.

Also, he doesn’t want to choose another type of device. This is what the head of its Main Arms Directorate, Col. Ershan Nildybaev, announced on November 30.

“I tell you now: I am going to deceive you. There is no negotiation on this matter [l’achat de Rafale, ndlr]. There are no such plans. Beautiful plane… but expensive. Therefore, we believe that the best choice in terms of ‘price-quality’ ratio, for us, is the Su-30SM,” Colonel Nildypaev said during a press conference. KazTag Company.

For his part, the head of the Kazakh Air Force, General Daron Kozanov, underlined the “increasing role of drones” and, therefore, the need to develop “new combat methods.”

However, there is no question of questioning the current equipment plans. If he orders transport flights from Airbus [deux A400M et des C-295]Kazakhstan is mainly looking for Russian-designed equipment such as Mi-35 and Mi-171SH helicopters, Su-30 SM. [six lui seront en principe livrés en 2024] and Tor-M2M/K air defense systems.