Sea Platforms

Kazakhstan launches new special forces small craft, progresses corvette programme

22 July 2016
Kazakhstan's new small craft (pennant 101), pictured undergoing pre-launch preparations. Source: Kazakhstan Ministry of Defence

Key Points

  • Kazakhstan makes progress on several ongoing programmes
  • There are new developments in plans to acquire a corvette capability

Kazakhstan's Zenit Uralsk Shipyard has launched a new type of small patrol boat (pennant number 101) for the Kazakh Navy's special forces.

A defence ministry press release stated that the main purpose of the new boat is to guard strategic facilities in the port of Aktau against the risk of underwater sabotage.

According to the shipyard's general director Vyacheslav Valiev, the vessel is fitted with equipment for detecting, classifying, and tracking divers and swimmer delivery vehicles at ranges of up to 500 m. It is not known what sonar equipment and anti-diver weapons will be fitted, although grenade launchers and machine guns are understood to feature.

In a media interview, deputy commander of the navy Captain First Rank Serik Boranbaev said that the vessel will also be used to study the hydro-meteorological environment in the Caspian Sea (for purposes of navigation safety), to conduct intelligence, and to transport combat divers.

The 12-tonne boat is 13 m long, 3.5 m in beam, and has a draught of 0.6 m. It is powered by two waterjets, each driven by a Volvo Penta D6-330 engine. Communications equipment includes a Samyung STR-6000A marine VHF radio. A Furuno navigation system is installed.

The vessel will undertake a range of harbour and sea trials, along with additional weapons outfitting, before it is declared combat ready. The introduction of this small craft adds both capacity and a new capability to the gradually expanding navy.

There are also new developments in the country's plans to acquire a corvette capability. Russia was thought to be the front runner, with the Project 21632 Tornado design, and with Zelenodolsk shipyard as the likely builder. However, it is possible that the programme will consist of more than one platform type.

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