On January 12th, U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Mr. Jon Purnell presented two new “Gyurza” river patrol boats to the Border Troops of the National Security Service.
Major General Ibragimov, commander of the Border Troops of the Committee for State Border Protection of the National Security Service, received the boats for the Government of Uzbekistan. Officials from "Leninskaya Kuznitca" shipyard, the Ukrainian design and construction firm Progress and regional and local authorities from Termez were also in attendance. The American delegation included representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. State Department's Office of the Coordinator of U.S. Assistance to Europe and Eurasia.
The "Gyurza" class vessels are being provided to Uzbekistan under the U.S. State Department-funded Aviation Interdiction Project (A/IP) program. In June 2003, the State Department awarded a $5.6 million contract for the design and construction of the vessels to the Ukrainian firm Progress. The 20-meter long vessels will be used to patrol the Amu Darya River along Uzbekistan's southern border with Afghanistan and will sail from the Port of Termez. The boats were specially designed for the unique hydrology of the Amu Darya River, with a very shallow draft and tunnel hull drive. The new patrol boats have an integrated sensor package that permits a day/night, all weather operating capability. The first vessel was delivered in November 2004 and the second in December 2004.
Since 2003, the U.S. State Department, though A/IP, has provided security assistance to Uzbekistan in the form of equipment and training including night vision devices (NVG), global positioning systems (GPS) and Mi-8/24 helicopter flight simulators.
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