Sunday 3 September 2023

Samarqand Steel: Uzbekistan’s Fighting Vehicles

By Jan Kerdijk, Stijn Mitzer and Buschlaid
The Republic of Uzbekistan finds itself surrounded by five landlocked countries that define its borders: Kazakhstan to the north, Kyrgyzstan to the northeast, Tajikistan to the southeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest. This unique positioning designates Uzbekistan as one of just two doubly landlocked countries in the world. Its location in Central Asia becomes even more significant due to its shared border with Afghanistan. Given that the potential dangers of a terrorist threat outweigh the risk of a conventional military invasion, a significant portion of the country's military investments has been directed towards enhancing its counterterrorism capabilities through the acquisition of equipment such as K-53949 Taifun-K and Ejder Yalçın MRAPs and more than a dozen Eurocopter AS532 transport helicopters, a dozen Eurocopter AS550 utility helicopters, and four C-295W transport aircraft.

Most of Uzbekistan's military equipment originates from the Soviet Army's Turkestan Military District, although some other equipment was acquired via the CFE treaty. Due to the treaty's regulations mandating the USSR to relocate a significant amount of hardware behind the Ural Mountains, Uzbekistan ended up with hundreds of T-64s and T-80s on its territory. Faced with a severe shortage of wheeled APCs, Uzbekistan repurposed a number of specialised AFVs into APCs in the 2000s, later supplemented by a number of BTR-80s acquired from Russia. The BTR-80s were one of the few acquisitions made under President Karimov's reign. Due to the volatile region Uzbekistan is located in, the US sought to strengthen the country's counterterrorism capabilities through the donation of 308 MRAPs and 20 MRVs (MRAP-based recovery vehicles) in 2015. [1] This represented the single largest transfer of US military equipment to a post-Soviet state prior to the 2022 Russo-Ukrainian War, and greatly strengthened the country's capabilities.

President Karimov's successor, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, has significantly increased investments in the Armed Forces and procured KamAZ Taifun-K MRAPs and BTR-82As APCs from Russia in the late 2010s. Despite not yet leading to the acquisition of new tanks, Uzbekistan's defence industry has initiated the modernisation of a number of the country's T-62, T-64, and T-72s. Nevertheless, these modernisations have not yet progressed beyond the prototype phase. Furthermore, domestically manufactured weaponry is being integrated into active service. This has so far encompassed tactical vehicles and IMVs. As Uzbekistan is making concerted efforts to further expand its capabilities to produce and modernise military equipment, it appears likely that additional Uzbek-produced AFVs are to make their debut in the near future. These additions will join an esoteric collection of Soviet, US, and Russian vehicle types.

This list attempts to list all AFV types currently in service with the Uzbek Army. This list only includes vehicles and equipment of which photographic evidence is available. ATGMs, MANPADS, mortars trucks and jeeps are not included in the list. If a vehicle or equipment type is operated by a service branch other than the Ground Forces this branch is indicated in brackets.
(Click on the equipment to get a picture of them in Uzbek service)


Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Infantry Fighting Vehicles


Armoured Personnel Carriers

Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicles


Infantry Mobility Vehicles

Tactical Vehicles And Technicals


Command Vehicles And Fire-Control Vehicles


Engineering Vehicles And Equipment

Self-Propelled Anti-Tank Missile Systems

Towed Artillery

Self-Propelled Artillery


Multiple Rocket Launchers

Anti-Aircraft Guns


Self-Propelled Anti-Aircraft Guns


Static Surface-To-Air Missile (SAM) Systems

Self-Propelled Surface-To-Air Missile (SAM) Systems

Electronic Warfare Systems


Surveillance Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Loitering Munitions

Target Drones