Kazakhstan displayed several newly acquired foreign-made unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in a parade to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Kazakh armed forces on 7 May: an indication of the Central Asian country's growing capabilities in this sector.
Astana revealed that it has purchased the Russian-made Special Technological Centre Orlan-10 surveillance/reconnaissance UAV. It is unclear, however, whether Kazakhstan has acquired more Orlan-10s than the two seen in the parade.
The 1.8 m-long UAV is shaped like a conventional monoplane and features a nose-mounted engine, shoulder-mounted wings, and a tail assembly that comprises a vertical fin and two horizontal stabilisers.
According to Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned, the Orlan-10 has a maximum take-off weight of 18 kg, a service ceiling of 5 km, an endurance of 16 h, a top speed of 150 km/h, and can carry a maximum payload of 2.5 kg.
Also paraded in Astana was a unit of the Elbit Systems Skylark I-series of surveillance/reconnaissance UAVs. Based on information published on the website of state-owned defence equipment manufacturer Kazakhstan Engineering, the unit displayed was most likely the Skylark I-LEX.
This man-portable UAV has a wingspan of 3 m, a maximum take-off weight of 7.5 kg, an endurance of up to 3 h, a service ceiling of 4.5 km, and an operational range of 40 km, according to Jane's All the World's Aircraft: Unmanned .
A senior Kazakh official told journalists in September 2016 that the country had reached an agreement with Israel to jointly produce UAVs under licence in Astana, with Elbit Systems Skylark and Hermes UAVs expected to be produced from 2017.
The Kazakh military also paraded the two units of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Wing Loong strike-capable reconnaissance UAV it purchased in 2016.
Discussions relating to this acquisition are understood to have begun in 2012, with a delegation of Kazakh military officials observing operation of the Wing Loong in China in August 2014.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options: ihs.com/contact