Armed Forces of Turkmenistan

Armed Forces of Turkmenistan
Türkmenistanyň Ýaragly Güýçleri
Emblem of Turkmenistan.svg
FoundedJanuary 28, 1992
Service branches
Headquarters4 Galkynysh Street, Ashgabat[1]
President of TurkmenistanGurbanguly Berdimuhamedow
Minister of DefenceMajor General Begench Gundogdyev
Chief of the General StaffIsmail Ismailov[2]
Military age18[3]
Conscription24 months (IISS 2012)
Active personnel22,000 (Army 18,500, Air Force 3,000, Navy 500)
Reserve personnelformerly 108,000, not since 2007 at least.[4]
Budget$198 million (FY10) (IISS 2012)
Percent of GDP3.4% (FY10)[3]
Foreign suppliers Russia
 United States
 United Kingdom
 Czech Republic
Related articles
RanksMilitary ranks of Turkmenistan

The Armed Forces of Turkmenistan (Turkmen: Türkmenistanyň Ýaragly Güýçleri) is the national military of Turkmenistan, consisting of the Army, Air Force and Air Defense Forces, Navy, Border Troops, Internal Troops and a National Guard. After the fall of the Soviet Union, significant elements of the Soviet Armed Forces Turkestan Military District remained on Turkmen soil, including several motor rifle divisions. In June 1992, the new Russian government signed a bilateral defence treaty with Turkmenistan, encouraging the new Turkmen government to create its own armed forces but stipulating that they were to be placed under joint command.[5]

The Library of Congress Country Studies said that 'the Treaty on Joint Measures signed by Russia and Turkmenistan in July 1992 provided for the Russian Federation to act as guarantor of Turkmenistan's security and made former Soviet army units in the republic the basis of the new national armed forces. The treaty stipulated that, apart from border troops and air force and air defense units remaining under Russian control, the entire armed forces would be under joint command, which would gradually devolve to exclusive command by Turkmenistan over a period of ten years. For a transitional period of five years, Russia would provide logistical support and pay Turkmenistan for the right to maintain special installations, while Turkmenistan would bear the costs of housing, utilities, and administration.'

The Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies's Moscow Defence Brief said that '..[i]n 1992-1993 Turkmenistan attempted to create a small national armed force based on the former 52nd Army (Soviet Union), which was located in the country and depended on support from Russia. Of the 300 formations and units, numbering 110,000 people, 200 were transferred to the command of Turkmenistan, 70 remained under Russia's jurisdiction, and 30 were either withdrawn or demobilized.[6]

In 1994, the chief of staff and first deputy minister of defense was Major General Annamurat Soltanov, a career officer who had served in Cuba and Afghanistan; another deputy minister of defense, Major General , had been a law enforcement administrator prior to his appointment. Russian commanders included Major General Viktor Zavarzin, chief of staff and first deputy commander of the Separate Combined-Arms Army of Turkmenistan, and commander of the Separate Combined-Arms Army of Turkmenistan and deputy minister of defense Lieutenant General Nikolai Kormiltsev. Russian Major General served together with Turkmen Major General as joint commanders of the border troops in the Turkmen Border Guard.

Turkmenistan consistently has refused to join multilateral CIS military groupings, but Russia maintains joint command of the three motorized rifle divisions in the Turkmenistani army. Under a 1993 bilateral military cooperation treaty, some 2,000 Russian officers serve in Turkmenistan on contract, and border forces (about 5,000 in 1995) are under joint Russian and Turkmenistani command. Altogether, about 11,000 Russian troops remained in Turkmenistan in mid-1996.'[7] From V.I. Feskov et al. 2013 and Michael Holm's data, it appears that the three divisions were the 58th, 88th, and 209th District Training Centre (former 61 Training MRD) at Ashkhabad.[8]

Jane's Information Group said in 2009 that "Turkmenistan's military is, even by the standards of Central Asia, poorly maintained and funded."[9]

State Security Council

General Staff


  • Land Forces Command
  • Department of the Missile Forces and Artillery
  • Department of the Air Force and Air Defense Forces Command
  • Department of Communication Troops
  • Department of Engineering Troops
  • Department of training specialists for the Armed Forces of Turkmenistan
  • Department of Specialized Formations

List of Chiefs of Staff

Ground Forces

Military guard of honor during the 20th year of independence in Turkmenistan
Soldier with the flag of the Turkmen Armed Forces
T-72UMG tankman salutes during parade
T-90SA and T-72UMG units

The Turkmen military inherited several motor rifle divisions from the Soviet Armed Forces Turkestan Military District, forming the basis of the Turkmen ground forces. Among them was the 58th Motor Rifle Division at Kyzyl-Arvat.[10] Interim Russian commanders in the first half of the 1990s included Major General Viktor Zavarzin, chief of staff and first deputy commander of the Separate Combined-Arms Army of Turkmenistan, and commander of the Separate Combined-Arms Army of Turkmenistan and deputy minister of defence Lieutenant General Nikolai Kormiltsev.

Today the ground forces include the 2nd, 3rd, 11th, and 22nd Motor Rifle Divisions.[11] The 11th Motor Rifle Division is the former Soviet 88th Motor Rifle Division. The 11th (according to other sources 357th) MSD behalf of Sultan Sanjar (former Soviet 88th MSD; Kushka officially - Serhetabat).

It was reported in January 2007 that on the Caspian Sea and the coastal zone to a depth of 350 kilometers, and on the Turkmen-Iranian border is located about 90% of the Army (22nd Motorized Division on the Caspian coast, 2nd and 3rd motorized divisions on the Turkmen-Iranian border, 11th Motorized Division on the Tajik-Afghan border).[12]

The military ranks have reverted to traditional names and structure, and are now:

Esger - warrior
Onbashi - leader of 10 (section leader)
Yuzbashi - leader of 100 (junior officer)
Munbashi - leader of 1000 (senior officer)
Goshunbashi - Army commander

The rank of a marshal has also apparently been reintroduced.[13] The real cash payment to the warrior rank in the army is about US$1.5 - 3 (2005 rates) per month. Only some of the conscript's time in the military is occupied with military service, the rest being occupied with "labour" (half a day) and "self-improvement" (2–3 hours a day) by reciting traditional Turkoman texts, learning songs and playing music.


The number of vehicles is around 2,000, the number of tanks is around 700 and the number of artillery pieces is around 560.[14]

Turkmen ground forces equipment includes 702 T-72,[15] and 10 T-90, ordered in 2009 for approximately $30 million.[16][17]

AIFV / APC include BTR-60/BTR-70/BTR-80 - 829,[15] BMP-1/BMP-2 - 930,[15] BRM-1 12, and BRDM-2 - 170.



Multiple launch Rocket Systems

Towed Guns


Air Defence Guns

Surface to Air Missiles

Light equipment

Air Force

Flag of the Turkmen Air Force
AgustaWestland AW101 flying overhead
Mi-8s fly near the presidential palace

The IISS in 2012 said the Air Force had 3,000 personnel with 94 combat capable aircraft.[19] The total number of aircraft is around 120.[14] It said there were two fighter/ground attack squadrons with MiG-29/MiG-29UB (total of 24 both types), Sukhoi Su-17 Fitter-Bs (65) and two Sukhoi Su-25 Frogfoots (with 41 more being refurbished). It reported one transport squadron with Antonov An-26 'Curl' (1), and Mi-8s and Mi-24s (8 and 10 listed in service respectively). Training units had Sukhoi Su-7 Fitter-As (3 listed in service) and L-39 Albatross. Air defence missile units had SA-2, SA-3, and SA-5.


  • 99th Aviation Base (former 67th Mixed Aviation Regiment) (Mary-2 airbase) with MiG-29 and Su-25.[20]
  • 47th Separate Mixed Aviation Squadron (Аk-Tepe/Ashkabad) with Аn-26/24, Mi-24 and Mi-8.
  • 107th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Ak-Tepe) with 38 MiG-23 and 20 MiG-25 (not operational).
  • 31st Separate Aviation Squadron (Chardzhou/Turkmenabad) with MiG-21, Su-7, L-39, Yak-28 and Аn-12 (not operational). Former 366th Independent Helicopter Squadron.
  • 55th Fighter Aviation Regiment (Balkanabat) with MiG-23М (not operational). Former 179th Fighter Aviation Regiment.
  • 56th Storage Base (Kyzyl-Arvat) with MiG-23. Former 217th Fighter/Bomber Aviation Regiment.
  • 1st Anti-Aircraft Missile Regiment 'Turkmenbashi' (Bikrova/Ashkabad) with 2K11 Krug.
  • 2nd Radio-Technical Brigade.


Current inventory

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
MiG-29 Russia multirole 24[21]
Su-25 Russia attack 20[21]
An-26 Ukraine transport 1[21]
An-74 Ukraine heavy transport 2[21]
Mil Mi-17 Russia utility 15[21]
Mil Mi-24 Russia attack 10[21]
AgustaWestland AW109 Italy attack / utility 3+[22]

Border Guard

Naval Forces

Flag of the Turkmen Navy

Turkmen naval forces are currently directed by the Border Guard Service and consist of around 700 servicemen and sixteen patrol boats.[23] The Congressional Research Service, citing the International Institute for Strategic Studies, reports a number of six patrol boats.[14]

The International Institute for Strategic Studies reported in 2007 that Turkmenistan intended to form a navy and had a minor base at Turkmenbashy with one USCG Point class cutter and five .[15] Jane's Fighting Ships 2001-2002 reported that the Point-class cutter was the Merjin, PB-129, (ex Point Jackson, 82378), which was transferred on 30 May 2000.

The country acquired four missile boats in 2011.[14] In 2014 they acquired 10 Tuzla-class patrol boats which were all delivered by 2015.

In 2012, Turkmenistan announced its first naval exercises in the Caspian Sea programmed for early September. Named Khazar-2012 (Khazar is the Persian name of the Caspian Sea), these tactical exercises came after a summer of somewhat heightened tensions with Azerbaijan over natural gas fields in a contested part of the sea.[24]


NCOs and Enlisted

Military Academies

Founded in 1993 and 2007 respectively, the Military Institute of the Ministry of Defense of Turkmenistan and the Military Academy of Turkmenistan are the seniormost military academies of their kind in Turkmenistan. Other military academies include the Turkmen Police Academy, the Turkmen National Security Institute, and the Turkmen Naval Institute.


  1. ^ Military Technology, World Defence Almanac 2008, p.255
  2. ^ "ИСМАИЛОВ Исмаил - ЦентрАзия". CentrAsia. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Turkmenistan Military 2014, CIA World Factbook". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  4. ^ John Pike. "Turkmenistan- Army". Archived from the original on 24 December 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  5. ^ Stephen Foye, 'Russian-Turkmen Defense Accord,' RFE/RL Daily Report, no. 109, (10 June 1992), p.1, via Janne E. Nolan (ed.), Global Engagement, Brookings, Washington D.C., 1994, p.369.
  6. ^ Colonel Oleg BELOSLUDTSEV, Candidate of Historical Sciences, and Colonel Alexander GRIBOVSKY, Russia's Military-Political Relations with Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan, Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, accessed at Archived 25 March 2018 at the Wayback Machine, October 2015.
  7. ^ Glenn E. Curtis (ed.), Russia: A Country study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, research completed July 1996 (Chapter 9)
  8. ^ Archived 23 January 2018 at the Wayback Machine, and Archived 28 April 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Josh Kucera, 'Centre of Attention: Central Asia,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 14 October 2009
  10. ^ "58th Motorised Rifle Division". Archived from the original on 9 January 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Archived 18 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, translated from Russian by Google Translate, July 2009
  13. ^ Игорь Елков, Вся постсоветская рать: Какая из бывших советских республик всех сильнее, Российская газета - Неделя №3893 от 7 октября 2005 г.[1] Archived 29 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ a b c d Jim Nichol (Congressional Research Service) (16 May 2011). "Turkmenistan: Recent Developments and U.S. Interests" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 October 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  15. ^ a b c d IISS (2007). The Military Balance 2007. London: Routledge for the IISS. pp. 326–327. ISBN 978-1-85743-437-8.
  16. ^ "EurasiaNet News Briefs - Turkmenistan: Berdymukhamedov Mulls Russian Hi-Tech Deals". 9 December 2009. Archived from the original on 27 September 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Procurement (Turkmenistan) - Sentinel Security Assessment - Russia And The CIS". 21 October 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
  18. ^
  19. ^ IISS 2012 p.290
  20. ^ Vad777, Turkmenistan Archived 8 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ a b c d e f "World Air Forces 2015 pg. 31". Flightglobal Insight. 2015. Archived from the original on 24 March 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  22. ^ Dominguez, Gabriel; Gibson, Neil (4 August 2017). "Turkmenistan releases footage of AW109 helos conducting live-fire drill". IHS Jane's 360. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  23. ^ "Defense & Security Intelligence & Analysis: IHS Jane's". Retrieved 24 December 2014.
  24. ^ "The First Naval Exercises of Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea". The Gazette of Central Asia. Satrapia. 30 August 2012. Archived from the original on 15 April 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2012.
  25. ^ Administrator. "Turkmenistan army ranks military combat field uniforms dress grades uniformes combat Turkménistan | Turkmenistan army military ranks combat uniforms | Turkmenistan army military equipment vehicle UK". Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 14 August 2017.

Further reading

  • Allison, Roy: Military Forces in the Soviet Successor States, Adelphi Paper No. 280 (London: IISS, 1993).
  • Staar, Richard Felix: The new military in Russia: Ten myths that shape the image, Naval Institute Press, 1996.