Friday, 13 May 2016

Kazakhstan Launches New Patrol Vessel Equipped with Belarusian Turret

Late last month, Kazakhstan officially launched the fifth vessel in the Project 0300 Bars (Leopard) class of patrol ships. The ship, called Sarbaz (205), has a displacement of 250 tons. The length of the ship is 42 meters and its width is 7.8 meters.

Sarbaz was launched on April 29 by Kazakhstan’s Zenit Uralsk Shipyard.  Once the ship is operational, it will be operated by the National Security Committee’s Border Service.

Kazakhstan already has four other vessels of the Project 0300 class, named Sardar, Sakshi, Zhenis, and Semser. All of these were launched over the last decade and carry out patrol work on Kazakhstan’s Caspian Sea coast. Additionally, Kazakhstan has three Project 0250 Bars MO rocket and artillery boats, which are based on the Project 0300 vessels.

Notably, Sarbaz comes equipped with a remote-controlled turret made by Belarus, a distinction between it and the other Project 0300 vessels. The Kazakh Ministry of Defense had initially noted in its press release on the vessel’s launching that it had a remote-controlled combat module, but did not specify the type.

A week after Sarbaz was launched, Belarus’ State Military Industrial Committee announced that Sarbaz is operating the Adunok system, a remote-controlled weapons platform. The Adunok turret is typically found on land systems, but has a naval variant as well. It features a 12.7mm NSVT machine gun and a targeting system comprising three sensors: a video camera (2,000 meter range), a thermal vision camera (1,000 meter range), and a laser rangefinder (2,500 meter range). It has an effective engagement range of “not less than 1,000 meters.”

Though Sarbaz is the first Project 0300 vessel to be equipped with the Adunok, Belarus has supplied the system’s naval variant to Kazakhstan previously. The Project 0210 vessel Karagandy (308) – also produced by Zenit Uralsk Shipyard – was launched in 2014 with the Adunok turret.

The continuing cooperation between Belarus and Kazakhstan in the defense sector is beneficial to both of their military industries, and particularly for Belarus’ industry as Minsk seeks to expand its client base. Kazakhstan’s Zenit Uralsk Shipyard has orders at least through 2017, raising further possibilities for Astana and Minsk to work together. 

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