March 17, 2012: The Kazakhstan Air Force has ordered two C-295 air transports from European firm EADS. These will be the first Western fixed wing aircraft used by the Kazakhstan military. Kazakhstan already has received six of 45 EC145 helicopters, which apparently performed up to expectations. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan began life as an independent country in 1991, with transports inherited from the Soviet Air Force. Since then, most local airlines have switched to Western airliners and the Kazakh Air Force noted the advantages of Western equipment.
The C-295 is a 23 ton aircraft that is basically a half size C-130 ("Hercules"), with a payload of nine tons and powered by two turboprop engines. Costing about $30 million each, the C-295 entered service a decade ago and over 80 have been delivered or ordered so far. Such aircraft are more suitable for most countries than the larger C-130 "Hercules." While Kazakhstan is a large country, the C-295 has sufficient range to go anywhere it is needed.