Empire Of The Ring Chapter 557
It was true that Youngho played a huge role in developing Kazakhstan’s defense capabilities, but the efforts of the former president Nazarbayev could not be ignored.
Even though Kazakhstan was an independent country, he voluntarily subjugated the country as a Russian satellite, so it could be armed with Russian weapons.
Unlike other Central Asian countries, President Nazarbayev had achieved a balanced economic development of Kazakhstan while he was in power for nearly 30 years. Because he did not take his illegally accumulated wealth abroad, it could land in Youngho’s hands. It was fortunate in a way since with his slush fund, Youngho could strengthen Kazakhstan’s force in a short period of time.
After Commander Kabak’s suggestion, he immediately began building attack helicopter battalion, mechanized warfare battalion, and mobile air defense battalion to arm the Royal Guards.
“The Royal Guards are flying with new armament, but the Royal Bodyguards only has two transport planes and three attack helicopters. What do you want us to do with this kind of power?”
“Doesn’t light-armored vehicle count as a mechanized unit?”
When it was rumored that the Royal Guards were arming at the level of a brigade, Cho Chul-hwan, the commander of the Royal Bodyguards, got jealous.
Otokar’s Cobra 2 light-armored vehicle was a tactical armored vehicle capable of operating anti-tank and surface-to-air missiles such as 12.7-millimeter machine guns, 20-millimeter machine guns, TOW, or Spike. There were more than 80 light-armored vehicles in the royal territory.
“Light-armored vehicles just increase mobility, but we can’t call it a heavy machine. Don’t you think you think we need at least an assault helicopter battalion to call ourselves the Royal Bodyguards?”
“Why do you skip the Gripe fighter squadron?”
“That belongs to the Air Force crew, not a member of the Royal Bodyguards. And the West is so vulnerable to the enemy. We never know how long our good relations with Russia will last.”
Even though Russia was categorized as a virtual enemy, there was only a little defense against it because most of the forces of Kazakhstan were deployed at the Chinese border.
Only about 50,000 combat police were deployed in the border area only for formality, but all their armament was tanks and armored vehicles. It was inevitable since the border with Russia stretched more than 6,800 kilometers long. It was impossible to cover the border even if there were 200,000 troops. It would be a great crisis if Russia turned its back on Kazakhstan when Kazakhstan’s majority of forces were deployed at the Chinese border.
“Can you stop Russia just by introducing a squadron of attack helicopters? Don’t worry. I’ll maintain good relations with Russia no matter what.”
“I wish things would go the way we want them to, but let’s be prepared for any situation in advance.”
“What’s the matter when we have the U.S. Air Force stationed in Kyrgyzstan?”
“Will the U.S. take an active part if there’s a dispute here? It’s not going to be easy when the U.S. national interests are at stake. We have military exchanges, but the U.S. Air Force in Kyrgyzstan is not accountable.”
After hearing Cho Chul-hwan’s story, Youngho realized that he had been thinking too complacently.
There were three air defense battalions in the royal territory, but it was nothing compared to Russia’s armed forces.
“Man, you’re making me nervous for nothing.”
“Wait and see. If Jong-il comes back from Turkey, he’ll give you more trouble about it than I am.”
Youngho intended to build one or two more armed divisions when all the Kurds came in, but for Kurds to form their own separate forces, it was only possible after they had fully settled down in Kazakhstan.
He would have to wait a few more years for the time to come, and it would be a problem to leave the Russian border empty for the meantime.
“If you have a way to re-arm ourselves without provoking Russia, tell me.”
“You requested Russians on the northeast front to step down to the side, right? If Russia is wary about China to that extent, wouldn’t it welcome our armament? The reason Russia has only been watching us arm ourselves so far is because it trusts us.”
Although Kazakhstan had been arming itself, Russia had not even sniffed at it.
Russia did not see it as an armed force aimed at it. And of course, Kazakhstan’s force was no match to Russia’s force.
“Well, what’s the point of introducing attack helicopters?”
“The Russian border and the Chinese border are mostly mountainous, so helicopters are more effective than fighter jets. The day before yesterday, the Defense Minister told me that it would maximize the strength of the border if we introduced a few attack helicopters.”
Hearing that the Royal Guards would be getting attack helicopter squadron, he must have envied it too. Since attack helicopters were too expensive to buy with the government defense budget, he told Cho Chul-hwan what was on his mind in hope that Youngho would pay for the helicopters since he knew that Cho Chul-hwan would talk to Youngho.
“I don’t know if there is a proper attack helicopter in Europe.”
“How about the American Apache helicopters?”
“Boeing has been criticized to have sold them at excessive prices.”
“It’s expensive, but it’s hard to find a helicopter with that much performance. The rumor that a single helicopter destroyed a brigade came out of nowhere. That helicopter is great in night operations and is specialized in ultra-low flying and mountain warfare.”
It seemed Chul-hwan had examined each country’s helicopters in advance. It sounded quite tempting. Although Italy’s Mangusta helicopters were produced in the royal territory, it was uncertain when they would be deployed as they were only in the early stages of production.
“You’ve already figured it out. So, how much it is for one?”
“If we negotiate well, we’ll be able to get it for about 45 million dollars. We could ask for Chief Michael’s help.”
-What made the Duke of Kazakhstan call me?
Michael’s voice was still sour when he answered the phone. He probably was still feeling sorry about the Uzbek gold mine.
Youngho responded to him innocently,
“What’s wrong with your voice? Would you like me to send you a royal doctor?”
-Are you kidding me? Because of the Duke of Kazakhstan, I might have to step down from the CIA’s Director position. We’re providing you with loans, but what does the U.S. get?
“What do you mean that you’re not getting anything? You’re going to maintain a strong relationship with Kazakhstan. If you need any resource from Kazakhstan, take it any time.”
-Oh, you say it like you’re giving it away for free.
“Germany also promised to offer a huge amount of loan, but it can’t take many resources, either.”
-You think I don’t know the details of your agreement with Germany?
“I’ll tell you everything if you ask, so don’t give me a random shot. It’s not like you.”
When Youngho hit the nail right on the head, Michael just made a groaning sound. He was going to shake Youngho by taking the initiative, but when Youngho said that he would tell all of the negotiations between Germany and Kazakhstan, he had nothing to say.
“I’ve prepared a present to save your face, Chief. Would you like to hear it?”
-I’m sure it’s another arms purchase.
“There is a rumor that the U.S. president is forcibly selling weapons, but you don’t like to hear about it? Shall I turn to Europe instead?”
-Who’s selling them forcibly? We’re just helping our allies arm themselves. What kind of weapon is it that you’re making such a fuss?
“I’d like to buy an Apache helicopter from Boeing, can you please connect me to the company?”
-How can the government interfere in private business dealings?
“Can anyone buy an Apache helicopter?”
Although arms products were produced by a private company, selling tactical weapons should be approved by the government, especially when dozens of weapons were being traded.
-I’m saying there’ll be no problem when Kazakhstan’s purchasing them.
“I’m trying to buy it in a large quantity. We have to bring them in prior to other countries again since we’re in a hurry. That’s why I need your help.”
-Do you know how much an Apache helicopter costs? It’s too expensive for our government to buy. How many of them do you want to buy?
“We’re planning to build five helicopter battalions.”
When Youngho was done, Michael was quiet for a while.
The quantity was much higher than he had expected.
Attack helicopter battalions usually consisted of 12 to 24 units depending on its performance. In the case of Apache helicopters, which were strong arms, 12 units could form a battalion. Preparing a squadron of five combat helicopters meant purchasing 60 helicopters.
It was a huge amount equivalent to 2.7 billion dollars in sales alone.
-Are you going to spend all of your defense budgets just to buy Apache helicopters?
“That’s the only way I’ll sleep with my legs stretched out. I’d like to ask the U.S. government to station an Apache helicopter squadron at the Kyrgyzstan’s Air Force base, but I can’t possibly ask that.”
-You know we can’t do that because it will provoke China.
“If it’s difficult, there’s no choice for us but to arm ourselves. I’d like to adjust the price a little bit if it’s possible…”
Youngho did not cling to ask for a discount because the U.S. government should tap the calculator and consult with Boeing if Youngho slightly hinted at his intention.
It was also good news for the U.S. as it would effectively prevent Russia and China if Kazakhstan’s military was reinforced. And an order for 60 helicopters was a mouth-watering contract for the U.S. government, and a little price adjustment was a natural step to avoid losing the deal to Europe.
-The orders are backed up and it’ll take years for you to get the quantity you desire. So, who would like to cut the price?
“What if we put it together locally?”
-You want a technical partnership? You think Boeing’s going to let you in?
“Even if we could get the technology for free, it can’t be handled by Kazakhstan’s technology level. We’re just trying to assemble and produce the helicopters here because you said the company’s behind on orders. We’ll be behind schedule.”
Youngho’s intention was to learn assembly technology.
The royal territory already had Koç Holding’s helicopter assembly plant in operation, so if Apache helicopter’s advanced assembling technology was brought in, it would raise the assembly plant’s capacity.
-The assembly plant should be a good talker. I’ll be able to ask for an adjustment to the selling price.
“First of all, I’d like to deploy one battalion on a trial basis. Would you help me with that?”
-It’s not a difficult request. I’ll see what I can do.
“Can I hear the answer right away?”
-I’ll let you know within a week. Can you tell me the payment terms? If you ask me to pay with resources, I might refuse.
“We’ll pay you all in cash.”
-You complained about not having any money, but I guess you’ve got slush funds.
“The former president had a U.S. treasury bond. Thanks to him, it’s been handy for me.”
-I see. The former president left without taking any slush funds.
“He had been trying to build up the nation’s defense capabilities while he was in power, so he must have cared for Kazakhstan.”
-Did you happen to find any gold?
“Hahaha… I have nothing more to say.”