Kazakhstan has ordered a further two Airbus Defence and Space (DS) C295 transport aircraft to augment the six already delivered.
The order, which was announced by the manufacturer on 20 April, covers the final two aircraft included in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2012. According to Airbus DS, both aircraft will be delivered in the second half of this year.
Kazakhstan acquired the C295 to replace the Soviet-era Antonov An-12BP 'Cub' fleet it inherited in the early 1990s. When the MOU with Airbus DS was signed in 2012, the central-Asian country became the first Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member to procure the C295 (Uzbekistan subsequently signed for four). Indeed, the event marked the first time that the former Soviet state had procured a fixed-wing aircraft from somewhere other than Russia or Ukraine.
The C295s are operated by the Kazakhstan Air Defence Forces (KADF) 218th Air Transport Squadron from Almaty Boraldai Airbase in the southeast of the country, near the Kyrgyzstan and Chinese borders. Other fixed-wing transports operational with the KADF comprise the Soviet-era Antonov An-12BP 'Cub', An-24 'Coke', An-26 'Curl', An-72 'Coaler', and An-2 'Colt'. The KADF has for some years now expressed an interest in purchasing between two and four Airbus DS A400M airlifters, though to date no such deal has been forthcoming.
Kazakhstan is something of an anomaly in the CIS in that it is happy enough to procure Western aircraft types rather than those produced in Russia or the former Soviet Union. Other types include the Aero L-39 Albatros jet trainer, as well as the Airbus Helicopters EC145 (H145) and Bell UH-1 Huey II helicopters.
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