Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan

Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi Qurolli Kuchlari

Standard of the Armed Forces
Service branches Uzbek Ground Forces
Uzbek Air and Air Defence Forces
Uzbek Naval Forces
Uzbek Frontier Service
Uzbek National Guard
Headquarters Tashkent, Uzbekistan
President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoev
Minister of Defense Kabul Berdiev
Conscription 18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months
Available for
military service
6,340,220 males, age 18-49 (2005 est.),
6,432,072 females, age 18-49 (2005 est.)
Fit for
military service
4,609,621 males, age 18-49 (2005 est.),
5,383,233 females, age 18-49 (2005 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
324,722 males (2005 est.),
317,062 females (2005 est.)
Active personnel 65,000[1]
Percent of GDP 2% (2005 est.) Another reported figure is 3.7%
Foreign suppliers  Russia
 United States
 North Korea
 South Korea
 Czech Republic

The Armed Forces of the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: 'Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi Qurolli Kuchlari'), is the name of the unified armed forces of Uzbekistan, consisting of a Ground force, Air and Air Defense forces, National guard [2] and a Frontier service.[3] They are reported to be the largest, and the strongest in Central Asia.[4] According to the 1992 Law on Defense, Uzbekistan's military is for defensive purposes only.[5]

Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, used to be the headquarters of the Soviet Turkestan Military District and on 20 February 1992, the new Ministry of Defence Affairs took over the offices which had been formerly occupied by the district headquarters staff.[6] On 2 July 1992 a Presidential Decree established a Ministry of Defence to supersede the Ministry of Defence Affairs. Over the succeeding years, Uzbekistan replaced Russian officers with ethnic Uzbeks and restructured the military to focus on targets like civil unrest, drug trafficking, and Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Uzbekistan and Russia signed a mutual defence pact in 2005, that will also result in closer military cooperation. This marked a stark contrast to a few years earlier, when the US appeared to be Uzbekistan's favoured foreign friend, and relations with Russia were cooler.[7]

'The country [has] also began professionalizing its military, an effort that has only limited success and erratic government support. But even in Uzbekistan, these changes represent merely a modest beginning and most of the benefits are concentrated in a few elite, higher readiness formations rather than uniformly applied to the entire force. The Uzbek military is woefully inadequate, but it is far superior to its neighbours.'[8] Uzbekistani military, by far, is alongside Kazakhstan, are both wealthy and quickly developed arms.

The government maintains a command and staff college for the military in Tashkent, based on the former Soviet TVOKU higher command college.

Activities and foreign relations

After the September 11, 2001 attacks, the United States leased the Karshi-Khanabad airbase in southern Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan. The American base there was called "Camp Stronghold Freedom," yet was more often referred to as "K2 Airbase" by the personnel in theater.

In May 2005, the military was involved in suppressing unrest in the Ferghana Valley city of Andijan, which became known as the Andijan massacre. Consequently, the EU banned arms sales and imposed a one-year visa ban on 12 senior officials, including the security chief and interior and defence ministers, accusing them of bearing responsibility for the killings.[9]

In the aftermath of the incident, President Karimov dismissed several senior military figures: Defense Minister Kadyr Gulyamov, Head of the Joint Headquarters of the Armed Forces Ismail Ergashev, and Commander of the Eastern military district Kosimali Akhmedov. Burnashev and Chernykh said that '..although these dismissals did not change the formal system of administration in the security and military structures, they reflected serious shifts in power relations among regional elites representing their clans.'[10]

A joint statement of the member countries of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation issued in early July, 2005 on a conference in Astana (Kazakhstan) called for a withdrawal of US troops from military bases in Central Asia. On July 29, 2005, Uzbekistan invoked a provision asking the U.S. to leave within 180 days. On November 21, 2005, the withdrawal of US troops from Karshi-Khanabad and any other bases was completed.[11]

The European Union lifted the arms sales ban in 2009.

Arms control and non-proliferation

The government has accepted the arms control obligations of the former Soviet Union, and acceded to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear state. It has also supported an active program by the U.S. Department of Defense Defense Threat Reduction Agency in western Uzbekistan (Nukus and the biological warfare test laboratory on Vozrozhdeniye Island).

Land Forces


Uzbek soldiers during a parachute training at Fort Bragg (North Carolina) in 1997

The army includes five military districts, the Northwest at Nukus, the Southwest Special Military District at Karshi, the Central Military District at Dzhizak, and the Eastern Military District at Ferghana. In 2001, the Tashkent garrison was transformed into the Tashkent Military District.[12]

The headquarters of the military districts and their areas of responsibility are confirmed. The subordinate brigades listed in the table below have been attributed to the various military districts either because they are located in the same city as the military district headquarters or are clearly within the military districts' area of responsibility - that is, the 37th Motor Rifle Brigade at Andijan.

Formation Headquarters Location Notes
Northwest Military District HQ Nukus Karakalpakstan, Xorazm Province
? Motor Rifle Brigade Nukus
Southwest Special Military District HQ Karshi Qashqadaryo Province, Surxondaryo Province, Bukhara Province, Navoiy Province
25th Motor Rifle Brigade Karshi (Nuristan) SW MD, Military Unit No.08579
Central Military District HQ Dzhizak Dzhizak Province, Samarqand Province, Sirdaryo Province
? Artillery Brigade Kattakurgan, Samarqand former 353 art.bde
Eastern Military District(EMD) Ferghana Fergana Province, Andijan Province, Namangan Province
17th Air Assault Brigade Ferghana EMD, up to 5000 soldiers - 4 air assault bde
37th Motor Rifle Brigade Andijan EMD, referred to as 34th MR Bde[13]
? Artillery Brigade/Regiment FerghanaEMD, from 105th Guards Air Assault Division, Soviet Airborne Troops
Tashkent Military District HQ Tashkent Tashkent Province, Established 2001
? Artillery Brigade/Regiment Tashkent Probably training artillery regiment in Chirchik

There are four motor rifle brigades whose designations are not known,[14] and the 17th Air Assault Brigade at Fergana, the former Soviet Airborne Forces' 387th Airborne Training Regiment. Motorized brigades are located around Bukhara, Samarqand, Termez, Nukus, and Andijan.[15]

Other Listed Formations


Uzbek soldiers during the Exercise Cooperative Osprey '96

Uzbek troops participated in Partnership for Peace Exercise Cooperative Osprey '96 at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, hosted by the United States Marine Corps. They then participated as well in Exercise Cooperative Osprey '98.

In September 2004, the (then) Royal Welsh Regiment (now 3rd Bn The Royal Welsh) of the British Army participated with the Uzbek Army Peacekeeping Battalion in "Exercise Timurlane Express" in the Farish Mountain Training Area. This was a 3-week NATO sponsored Partnership for Peace training exercise.

Current equipment

Reportedly, Uzbek armed forces' small arms include the AK-47, AK-74, Dragunov sniper rifle, Makarov PM pistol, and PK.

Current equipment
Name Photo Origin Type Quantity
 USSR Main battle tank 70[16]
 USSR Main battle tank 100[16]
 USSR Main battle tank 170[16]
 USSR Main battle tank 80[16]
Infantry Fighting Vehicles
 USSR Infantry fighting vehicle 180[16]
 USSR Infantry fighting vehicle 270[16]
 USSR Infantry fighting vehicle 120[16]
 Russia Infantry fighting vehicle 9[16]
 United States Infantry fighting vehicle 308[17][18]
Personnel carriers
 USSR Armoured personnel carrier 24[16]
 USSR Armoured personnel carrier 25[16]
 USSR Armoured personnel carrier 210[16]
 USSR Armoured personnel carrier 50[16]
 USSR] Armoured personnel carrier 6[16]
 USSR Armoured personnel carrier 13[16]
Rocket artillery
BM-21 Grad
 USSR 122mm Multiple Rocket Launcher 50[16]
BM-27 Uragan
 USSR 220mm Multiple Rocket Launcher 48[16]
Tactical ballistic missile systems
 USSR Tactical ballistic missile 5[16]
 China surface-to-air missile 1[19]
Self-propelled artillery
2S1 Gvozdika
 USSR 122mm Self-Propelled Howitzer 18[16]
2S9 Nona
 USSR Self-Propelled 120 mm Mortar 54[16]
2S5 Giatsint-S
 USSR 152mm Self-Propelled Howitze 17[16]
2S7 Pion
 USSR 203mm Self-Propelled Howitzer 48[16]

Air Forces

Uzbek Air and Air Defence Force shoulder badge

The Uzbek air forces consist of units formerly part of the 49th Air Army of the Turkestan Military District headquartered at Tashkent. There are two remaining combat units, brigades at Karshi-Khanabad and Dzhizak.[14]

The 60th Separate Brigade is the former 735th Bomber Aviation Regiment combined with the former 87th Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment.[20] It has 31 Su-24s, 32 MiG-29s, and 6 Su-27s. Other recently disbanded units include the 61st Fighter Aviation Regiment at Kakaydy, which was itself a merger with the previous 115th Fighter Aviation Regiment, and the 62nd Fighter Aviation Regiment at Andijan. Regiments at both bases were disbanded in 1999. As many as 26 stored Su-17s, apparently in very bad condition, remain at Chirchiq (see Google Earth 41°30'05.69"N 69°33'44.90"E).

List of units

Uzbek Air Force maintenance personnel tow an Air Force Su-24 Fencer aircraft at Karshi-Khanabad Air Base.
Uzbekistan governmental plane Boeing 767-300.

Current air force equipment

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Sukhoi Su-27  Soviet Union Multi role fighter 25
Sukhoi Su-24  Soviet Union Long-range bomber 32 Stored
Mikoyan MiG-29  Soviet Union Multi role fighter 60[21]
Sukhoi Su-17  Soviet Union Ground attack 38 Stored
Sukhoi Su-25  Soviet Union Ground attack 25 Active
Aero L-39 Albatros Czech Republic Czech Republic Light attack/ trainer 14
Ilyushin Il-76  Soviet Union Heavy transport 6
An-12  Soviet Union Medium transport 5
An-24  Soviet Union Medium transport 1
An-26  Soviet Union Medium transport 15
Boeing 767-300  United States VIP Transport 1 UK-67000, governmental plane
Boeing 757-200  United States VIP Transport 1 UK-75700, governmental plane
Mi-24 Hind  Soviet Union Heavy attack helicopter 51
Mi-8 Hip/Mi-17 Hip  Soviet Union Medium transport helicopter 64
Mil Mi-6  Soviet Union Heavy transport helicopter 27
Mil Mi-26  Soviet Union Heavy transport helicopter 1

Border Guard

The Frontier Service, also called the Committee for State Border Protection of the National Security Service, is the border guard of Uzbekistan. They have gotten into disagreements with the Frontier Forces of Kyrgyzstan in the Batken province.[22]

Special Forces

The military, NSS, and MIA maintain several spetsnaz battalions, named Scorpions, Bars, and Alfa. They are commonly used against Islamic terrorists in the border regions near Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.[23]


  1. John Pike. "Uzbekistan - Security Policy". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  2. John Pike. "Uzbekistan- Army". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  3. "The World Factbook". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  4. "Today.Az » Politics » Uzbekistan would prefer to be policeman of Central Asia: expert". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  5. Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan.Chapter 26.Defence and Security. Article 125
  6. Richard Woff, 'Independence and the Uzbek Armed Forces,' Jane's Intelligence Review, December 1993, p.567
  7. BBC,
  8. McDermott, JSMS, 2002, p.30
  9. "BBC". BBC News. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  10. Rustam Burnashev and Irina Chernykh, Changes in Uzbekistan's Military Policy After the Andijan Events, China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly, Volume 5, No. 1 (2007) , Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program, ISSN 1653-4212, p. 72
  11. US Completes Withdrawal From Uzbek Base
  12. Bakhtiyar Kamilov, Formation of Conceptual Approaches to the Problems of Ensuring National Security in Central Asian States - Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan
  13. Press-service of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan: Islam Karimov: no one can turn us from our chosen path
  14. 1 2 3, accessed late September 2007 and June 2010
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 [↑ The International Institute For Strategic Studies IISS The Military Balance 2010. — Nuffield Press, 2010. — С. 373. — ISBN 978-1-85743-557-3.]
  17. the-military-balance-2016 —
  18. Пентагон завершит поставки Узбекистану бронетехники в ближайшее время —, 15.06.2015
  20. For 735th Bomber Aviation Regiment, see Michael Holm, , and for 87th Separate Reconnaissance Aviation Regiment, see
  21. "World Military Aircraft Inventory". 2011 Aerospace: Aviation Week and Space Technology, January 2011.
  22. "Uzbekistan's Frontier Service: Kyrgyzstan aggravates situation in Sokh enclave". Trend. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2014.

Further reading

External links

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