According to the Defense Turk media outlet, the Kazakhstani Zenith plant has signed an agreement with Turkish companies ASFAT and YDA Group as it wants to build warships for the country’s navy on its own. Previously, Kazakhstan bought ships from Russia, the United States, South Korea and Germany.
What happened? During the International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF-2023) in Istanbul, the state-owned company Uralsk Plant Zenith JSC signed an agreement with ASFAT and YDA Group, subsidiaries of the Ministry of National Defense of Turkey to build ships for the navy of Kazakhstan. Under the terms of the agreement, the Turkish companies will assist the Zenith plant in its pursuit of constructing modern warships on its own.
What the agreement is about? The agreement covers the design and construction of multiple platforms, ranging from commercial vessels to warships for Kazakhstan’s navy. It is unclear how long the agreement is going to last.
What do we know about Uralsk Plant Zenith? The enterprise was established in 1941 on the Dvigatel plant, which was evacuated from Leningrad during World War II. During the war, the plant produced special naval weapons and was even awarded a state decoration. Currently, Zenith designs and manufactures ships, patrol boats, warships, border guard ships and boats for the naval forces of Kazakhstan. The company also manufactures goods for the industry and regular users.
What do we know about the Turkish company ASFAT? The defense company, which is controlled by the Turkish government, is responsible for the production, modernization, repair and maintenance of military equipment. The company runs 27 military factories and three naval shipyards.
What do we know about YDA Group? This company was founded in 1954. For years it has been constructing hospitals, industrial buildings, roads, bridges and transport interchanges, as well as multi-story buildings in Turkey. According to the company’s website, since the early 2000s YDA Group has worked in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Moldova.
The Kazakhstani-Turkish defense partnership. In May 2022, when President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was in Turkey for an official visit, the two countries agreed to cooperate in the sphere of intelligence, military archives, military history and publications.
After the ceremony of this agreement signing, Turkish media reported that Kazakhstan and Turkey also agreed to jointly produce Turkish ANKA combat drones. Thus, Kazakhstan has become the first country outside of Turkey where these drones will be manufactured.
In April 2023, the Turkish company Aselsan announced that it will supply remote-controlled weapon stations to Kazakhstan, although it didn’t provide any details of this contract.
The company’s subsidiary Kazakhstan Aselsan Engineering has been operating in Astana since 2011. The main task of the company is to strengthen the defense capabilities of Kazakhstan in terms of electro-optical products.
The context. Kazakhstan acquired foreign warships on several occasions. For instance, in 2005 Kazakhstan received Defender-class boats from the U.S. Later, the country’s government bought three armed Chamsuri-class patrol boats and one research vessel from South Korea.
In 2010, Kazakhstan and Russia agreed to launch joint manufacturing of warships in the West Kazakhstan region. In 2014, the TASS news agency reported that Russia received an order from Kazakhstan to build a mine sweeper. Later that year, Kazakhstan placed an order for the second mine sweeper from Russia.
In 2016, Kazakhstan reached an agreement with German Abeking & Rasmussen on the supply of a modern warship.