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Monday, March 18, 2013

Vietnam's military buildup: Media report


The two multi-purpose fighter Su-30MK2 of Vietnam fly sorties to patrol the East Vietnam Sea.
To increase its military power, the Vietnamese government launched a program to modernize its air force and navy against the growing Chinese influence in the disputed region of the South China Sea five years ago, reports the periodical Kanwa Asian Defense based in Canada.

By deploying SS-N-26 Yakhont anti-ship missiles and Gepard class frigates (2 in service and 2 more order) at its bases in central and southern Vietnam, the country's navy is able to respond promptly to any Chinese action in the Spratly islands. By 2010, Russia had already provided enough Yakhont anti-ship missiles to the Vietnamese navy to equip a battalion. Vietnam and Russia began to discuss a new contract to equip another Yakhont anti-ship missile battalion this year. While most disputed islands in the South China Sea lie less than 300 kilometers from Vietnam, the range of the Yakhont anti-ship missiles enable the Vietnamese navy enough capability to attack targets farther than 300 kilometers from home. They are considered a considerable threat to Chinese vessels operating in the disputed waters.


Major General Nguyen Thanh Tuan talks in the meeting
Speaking at the meeting with Vietnamese oversea people on Septemper 27-28, 2012, Major General Nguyen Thanh Tuan, director of the Propaganda and Training Department, General Political Department of the Vietnam People's Army hit strengths: "We have guardian ships equipped with missiles to protect the coast of 200km squared, we also have the missiles reaching a range of 600km, and the missiles are the most modern weapons in the world today. We also purchase enough aircrafts to protect the Spratly and Paracel islands." (1)


Vietnam's Shaddock anti-ship missile.
Vietnam People's Navy is building Coastal defense missile force (the 679th Coastal missile Regiment) become the core force in maritime security strategy by equipping Russian and Indian missile systems. Vietnamese Navy has already produced itself P-5 Pyatyorka/Shaddock anti-ships missile, range upgraded to 550 km, in fact, Vietnam was the only customer that USSR export this missile system.

The Joint venture company Russia-India BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited will sold Vietnam 15 BrahMos stealth supersonic cruise missile, and become the first military in the world imports Brahmos defense missile, if compared with other types of missiles being used in the world, BrahMos missile has the advantages of speed faster 3 times, range longer 2.5 times, respond shorter time 3-4 times. (2)

In a surprise development, Vietnam is also finalizing a contract to purchase four Sigma-class corvettes from the Netherlands. Currently operated by the Indonesian and Moroccan navies, the Sigmas, two of which might be built in Vietnam, would be the most modern warships in Vietnam's inventory.


Su-30K
There are currently 24 Su-30MKV/MK2 and 12 Su-27SK/UBK fighters in the service of Vietnam's air force. Like the navy, the Vietnamese air force deploys most of its advanced fighter units to central and southern Vietnam. The 935th Regiment of the Vietnamese air force equipped with the Su-30MKV/MK2 is currently based at Bien Hoa near Ho Chi Minh City. Taking off from Bien Hoa, the combat radius of a Su-30MKV/MK2 covers the entire South China Sea. Since the southern Chinese island province of Hainan is only 500 kilometers from the Phu Cat Air Force Base of the 940th Air Force Regiment, the Vietnamese Su-27SK/UBK is able to strike the base of the PLA's South Sea Fleet on the island.


Vietnam's Su-30MK2V
Older Cold War-era fighters such as the MiG-21 and Su-22 have been stationed at the air force bases of nothern Vietnam, which are considered less important to Hanoi's overall strategy.

A representative of Rosoboronexport, Russia's state-run military exporter, told Kanwa Asian Defense that the Vietnamese government is planning to purchase 12 more Su-30MKV/MK2 fighters to augment another of its air force regiments. In addition, the Vietnamese government is also in talks with Rosoboronexport about acquiring Yak-130 trainers. "We are not in a hurry," the agent said. "The Vietnamese will need our trainers sooner or later if they are using our fighters."

In April 2011, Vietnam has ordered six Kilo class submarine, worth about 1.8 billion dollars, the contract is said to occupy the entire defense budget of Vietnam in 2009. With six submarines, the first to be delivered in 2012 and the last one to be delivered by 2016, Vietnam will own the largest and most modern submarines team in Southeast Asia.

Moscow will proceed with plans this year to help Vietnam launch a new submarine fleet and train the crews, Russian Defense Ministry Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.



The Vietnam's first two in a series of six Kilo class submarines Projekt 06361 HQ-182 "Hanoi" and HQ-183 "Ho Chi Minh City" during state sea trials in Russia.
“This year our joint efforts will open a new page in Vietnam’s navy – a new fleet will appear,” Shoigu said, after talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Defense Minister General Phung Quang Thanh.

Shoigu said the two ministers discussed “crew training and preparation of the submarines,” for which Russian military schools will provide assistance, he said.

In 2012, Russia and Vietnam planned to start joint production of a modified anti-ship missile, head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Mikhail Dmitriyev said on Wednesday.


3M24/Kh-35E/UE Uran / AS-20 / SS-N-25 Switchblade
“We are planning to build facilities in Vietnam for the production of a version of the Russian Uran [SS-N-25 Switchblade] (named X-35) missile in a project that is similar to joint Russian-Indian production of the BrahMos missile,” Dmitriyev said.

The Uran subsonic anti-ship missile can be launched from helicopters, surface ships and coastal defense batteries. It has a range of up to 250 kilometers (135 nautical miles) and carries a 145-kilogram high explosive warhead.

Russian-Indian joint venture BrahMos Aerospace Ltd, set up in 1998, manufactures supersonic cruise missiles based on the Russian-designed NPO Mashinostroyenie 3M55 Yakhont (SS-N-26). (3)

News aggregated from various sources.

1 http://www.tienphong.vn/xa-hoi/593375/Bao-ve-bien-dao-bang-vu-khi-hien-dai-nhat-the-gioi-tpov.html

2. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2610605.ece

3 http://en.ria.ru/world/20120215/171330093.html