All armament that Russia will supply to Tajikistan next year will be new, an official source at the Ministry of Defense of Tajikistan told Asia-Plus in an interview. 

“The forthcoming Russia’s armament supplies to Tajikistan will include a large number of aviation equipment, including combat aircraft, as well as armored vehicles and communication means,” the source said, noting that Russia supplies Tajikistan with armament for modernization of the Tajik national army in accordance with agreements that were reached during Russian president’s visit to Dushanbe in October 2012.   

Meanwhile, Russian military specialists reportedly began providing assistance with training of subunits of the Tajik armed forces on December 1.     

“Officers of the General Headquarter of the Ground Forces of the Russian Federation, instructors of branches of Russian military schools and senior officers of the Russian military base deployed in Tajikistan are sharing their experience in combat training with their Tajik colleagues,” The Russian Central Military District press center says.

Training courses are reportedly being conducted at the training grounds of Lohur, Momirak and Sambuli.  

Recall, Russia media outlets have reported that Russia is expected to begin large-scale supplies of aviation equipment to Tajikistan next year to ensure regional stability.

“Next year, a key phase in defense cooperation, supplies of arms and military equipment will begin.  In particular, these are large quantities of aviation equipment, planes and helicopters.  I think it will all be done in time.  And, of course, will contribute to stability in the region,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was cited by Sputnik news agency as saying during a meeting with his Tajikistani counterpart Sherali Mirzo on November 30.

Shoigu also noted that Russia was continuing to train military personnel for the Tajik national army. 

The ministers reportedly signed a plan of cooperation between the defense ministries of the two countries for 2017.

Russia and Tajikistan are both members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the organization set up by former Soviet republics in 1992 shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union with the aim to facilitate cooperation and strengthen security in the region.

Throughout the 1990s, Tajikistan did not have an air force and relied on the Russian Air Force for air defense, however, the government planned on making one aviation squadron.  In 2007, the Air Force had 800 troops and 12 helicopters.  Tajik airspace is patrolled by Russian aircraft as part of the Joint CIS Air Defense System.  The air force is mostly used for search and rescue missions, transportation, and the occasional attack on militant groups.

For funding, the government relied upon modest foreign funds.  The first equipment to arrive was 10 MI-8MTBs and 5 MI-24 in 1993 based at Dushanbe.  The first transport aircraft were AN-24s and AN-26s were supplied in 1996.  A plan from the 1990s to acquire SU-25s from Belarus to form an attack squadron did not occur.  Moscow bolstered the Tajik's helicopter contingents in 2006-07 by giving them six Mil Mi-8 and Mil Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters.  It also provided four L-39 Albatros.