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Military of Kyrgyzstan

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Military of Kyrgyzstan

Armed Forces of the Kyrgyz Republic
Coat of Arms of the Kyrgyz Armed Forces
Founded circa 1992
Service branches Kyrgyz National Guard
Kyrgyz Army
Kyrgyz Air Force
Kyrgyz Air Defence Forces
Kyrgyz Frontier Force
Kyrgyz Interior Troops
Ministry of Emergency Situations
Headquarters Bishkek
Commander-in-Chief President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev
Minister of Defence Taalaibek Omuraliev [1]
First Deputy Defence Minister and Chief of General Staff Colonel General Alik Mamyrkulov
Military age 18
Conscription 18 months
Available for
military service
1,234,457 (2002 est.), age 15–49
Fit for
military service
1,001,274 (2002 est.), age 15–49
Reaching military
age annually
50,590 (2002 est.)
Active personnel 15,500 (IISS 2007)
Reserve personnel 10,000
Budget 1.4 billion soms (IISS 2007)

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, originally formed from former Soviet forces of the Turkestan Military District stationed in the newly independent state, includes the Army, the Air Force, Air Defence Forces, the Northern and Southern Groups of Forces, Interior Troops, Agency of National Security and Border Troops.

For much of the Soviet period, since 1967, the 8th Guards 'Panfilov' Motor Rifle Division was the main military force in the country, and the Division was only disbanded in January 2003.[2] In 1967 the Division had been moved to Bishkek from the Baltic Military District, where it had previously been based.

In terms of foreign presence, the U.S.-led Operation Enduring Freedom coalition use the Manas Air Base (Bishkek's international airport) while Russia has the 999th Air Base at Kant which was set up by Moscow to counter the American military presence in the Former Soviet state. Moscow is believed to have promised Bishkek $1.1 billion for modernising its army. Agreements to this effect were reached during the visits to Bishkek by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov in August and President Vladimir Putin in September 2012.[3]


Military guard of honor near a monument in Bishkek's main square

The Army of Kyrgyzstan includes the 1st Motor Rifle Brigade (Mountain) at Osh, a brigade at Koy-Tash, in the Bishkek area, the 25th Special Forces Brigade, independent battalions at Karakol and Naryn, a brigade at Balykchi, and other units.

Two Groups of Forces, the Southern, and more recently the Northern, have been active during Kyrgyzstan's history. In 2004, the Northern Group of Forces was reported as consisting of the Balykchynsky brigade, the brigade deployed in suburb of Bishkek, separate battalions in Karakol and Naryn,and other army units.[4]


Kyrgyz soldiers participate in Exercise Regional Cooperation 2012
Minesweepers during training

Excluding the M120 mortar, all army equipment are Soviet or Russian in origin.






Towed Mortars

Multiple Rocket Launchers

Light equipment

Special Forces

Subordinated to the Ministry of Defence

Members of the 25th Special Force Brigade Scorpion in 2013
  • 25th Special Force Brigade Scorpion. This brigade was formed in 1994. It began as the 525th Special Company, and now Scorpion is the best brigade in the country. Soldiers of this brigade use modern weapons and equipment.
  • "Ilbirs" brigade. Ilbirs means Tiger in the Kyrgyz language. It was formed in April 1999. At that period it was the 24th Special Forces Battalion.

National Guard Special Forces

  • The National Guard of Kyrgyzstan has an Airborne Battalion, Panther.
  • Bars (Барс) and Edelweiss units.

Agency of National Security

  • Alfa is an anti-terrorist unit. Almost all former Soviet countries' National Security Agencies have special teams called "Alfa". "Alfa" is a top-secret unit; there is no information available about it.

Ministry of the Interior

  • "SOBR" (СОБР) is a special team, similar to the American SWAT teams. SOBR also exists in Russia and many other post-Soviet countries.

In August 2010, the Kyrgyz MOD received 45 Ford Ranger pickups and 44 Polaris quads from the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Military Cooperation to increase the mobility of Kyrgyz counterterrorism units, particularly in mountainous regions.[8]

Air Force

Tupolev Tu-154 of the Kyrgyzstan Government in Tokyo. (2013)

The Air and Air Defence Force includes a regiment of MiG-21s and L-39s, four Antonov transports, and a helicopter regiment (apx 23 Mi-8, 9 Mi-24). Estimates for the numbers of MiG-21s range from 48 to 60-odd. However, only a few L-39s and the helicopters are capable of flight. All Kyrgyz military aircraft are reportedly based at Kant, alongside the Russian 999th Air Base.

Because of expense and military doctrine, Kyrgyzstan has not developed its air capability; a large number of the MiG-21 interceptors that it borrowed from Russia were returned in 1993, although a number of former Soviet air bases remain available. In 1996 about 100 decommissioned MiG-21s remained in Kyrgyzstan, along with ninety-six L-39 trainers and sixty-five helicopters. The air defence forces have received aid from Russia, which has sent military advisory units to establish a defence system. The Russians also help patrol Kyrgyz airspace as part of the Joint CIS Air Defence System Presently Kyrgyzstan has twenty-six SA-2 and SA-3 surface-to-air missiles in its air defence arsenal.

Aircraft inventory (At 17 August 2013)

In downtown Bishkek. The sign says, "National Guard"
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[9] Notes
Transport Aircraft
Tupolev Tu-154  Soviet Union VIP transport Tu-154M 2 Leased from Air Manas
Boeing 737  United States VIP transport 737-400 2 Leased from Kyrgyzstan Air Company
Trainer Aircraft
Aero L-39  Czech Republic light attack/trainer L-39 4 96 acquired from ex-USSR.
Attack Helicopters
Mil Mi-24  Soviet Union attack Mi-24 6
Transport and Utility Helicopters
Mil Mi-8 Hip
Mil Mi-17 Hip-H
 Soviet Union
transport/attack Mi-8

Air defence

References and links

  1. ^
  2. ^ - accessed Aug 2007 and Jan 2008
  3. ^ "Russia Gives $1.5 bln to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan for Military Expenditure". The Gazette of Central Asia (Satrapia). 19 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Vad777, accessed July 2008, reporting - 2004, a dead link
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Kyrgyzstan Army Equipment Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  6. ^ Jane's Armour and Artillery 1997-98 ISBN 0-7106-1542-6
  7. ^ a b c d e
  8. ^
  9. ^ Kyrgyzstan Air Force at

Further reading

  • O'Mallery, William D., and McDErmott, Roger N., 'Kyrgyzstan's Security Tightrope,' Journal of Slavic Military Studies, Vol. 16, No. 3, September 2003, 72-111
  • Martha Brill Olcott, Library of Congress Country Study Kyrgyzstan, National Security, 1996
  • Henry Plater-Zyberk, Kyrgyzstan - Focusing on Security, Conflict Studies Research Centre K41, November 2003

External links

  • Armed Forces of the Republic of Kyrgizstan official site
  • Ministry of Emergency Situation (Kyrgizstan) official site
  • Ministry of Internal Affairs (Kyrgizstan) official site
  • Kyrgizstan military ranks
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