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Vietnamese People's Navy - Modernization

For a time, it did not seem likely that Vietnam would invest heavily to improve the navy's operational capabilites, as there was an absence of any recent territorial disputes with China, and a general lack of direct threats. However, the topic of control over the South China Sea and more specifically, the Spratly Islands, eventually proved to be an incentive for some such investment to take place. Minister of Defense Phung Quang Thanh stated on 05 August 2011: "The direction of building up the armed forces is one to follow the revolutionary spirit, regularization and effectiveness and gradual modernization. Within this context, the Navy, the Air Force, the Signal Corps and Electronic Warfare will proceed directly into modernization to protect the country".

Vietnam became Russia's biggest arms client in 2009, having ordered six diesel-electric submarines and 12 Su-30 fighter jets. In April 2009 the Russian business daily Kommersant reported that Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg will build six Kilo class diesel-electric submarines for delivery to Vietnam. The paper quoted company general director Vladimir Aleksandrov as saying that Russia's state arms exporter Rosoboronexport would soon sign a contract with a foreign state, and that Admiralty Shipyards had been chosen to fulfill this contract. Sources in Rosoboronexport later confirmed that Russia and Vietnam had been negotiating a $1.8 billion deal on the delivery of six Kilo-class submarines to the Vietnamese navy for about a year.

The submarine is designed for anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface-ship warfare, and also for general reconnaissance and patrol missions. The vessel has a displacement of 2,300 tons, a maximum depth of 350 meters (1,200 feet), a range of 6,000 miles, and a crew of 57. It is equipped with six 533-mm torpedo tubes. As of November 2006, 16 of the vessels were believed to be in active service with the Russian Navy and eight submarines were thought to be in reserve. Another 29 vessels have been exported to China, India, Iran, Poland, Romania and Algeria.

Russia would start supplying Kilo class diesel submarines to Vietnam in 2014, a representative of state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport said in July 2011. The submarines are equipped with "Club-S cruise missile systems," Oleg Azizov said. Russia and Vietnam signed a $3.2-billion contract on the delivery of submarines in December 2009 during the visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Russia. This is the largest deal in the history of Russian exports of naval equipment. The delivery of all six submarines will be completed before 2016.

A ceremony was held at Cam Ranh port in southern Vietnamese province of Khanh Hoa on 15 January 2014 to induct its first Russian-made Kilo class submarine, the HQ 182- Hanoi, into service. The newly-named submarine is the first of six diesel-powered Kilo-636 Varshavyanka attacking models that Vietnam bought from Russia to enhance its navy's capacity.

The third diesel-electric submarine built by the Admiralty Shipyard in Saint Petersburg for the Vietnam Navy was delivered to the military port of Cam Ranh in November 2014. At that time the fourth submarine in the contract to build six submarines for Vietnam was being tested at sea by the shipyard, while the fifth and the sixth ships were being built. The fourth of a total of six Varshavyanka class submarines of Project 636.1 that Vietnam ordered from Russia was delivered to Cam Ranh Port in the central part of the country on 30 June 2015. The Da Nang submarine was transported by the Dutch heavy load carrier vessel Rolldok Star.

Two contracts on the supply of Gepard class frigates to Vietnam rank second and third on the list of Russia’s 2011 military contracts made by the Center for the Analysis of the World Arms Trade (TsAMTO). Gepard 3.9 frigate. It is currently in service with the Russian and Vietnamese Navies. The frigate is equipped with a new-generation combined gas turbine power plant and can move at up to 28 knots. Owing to its combat and operational capabilities, the ship can remain at sea for long time, control vast sea areas and operate under any climatic conditions. The Gepard-3.9 has been designed in accordance with the Russian Navy’s survivability requirements for actions in any combat situation.

The ship embodied stealth technology to minimize its signature. To accomplish strike missions, the ship is equipped with the Uran-E anti-ship missile system. Its air defenses include the Palma missile/gun system with two 30mm rapid-fire autocannons and the Sosna-R guided missile. The 76.2mm AK-176M gun mount can destroy surface, coastal and air targets. For antisubmarine warfare, the ship is equipped with two twin 533mm torpedo tubes and rocket-assisted ASW system. All the armaments can be employed at sea state up to 5. For strike and ASW missions, the ship can accommodate a helicopter.

Vietnam negotiated four SIGMA in October 2011 by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's visiting to Netherlands. The Dutch Schelde shipyard in Vlissingen, Netherlands was to build four Sigma corvettes for the Vietnamese Navy. The first two ships will be built in Vlissingen, and the last two will be built in Vietnam, under Dutch supervision. Schelde is expecting to become even more integrated within the Damen Shipyards Group. Damen is planning to develop “more and better standard products” and will be investing in shipyards in countries with “competitive wages.” One such is Vietnam, where Damen is building a large shipyard that’s slated to start operations in 2010, which in the longer term will also provide opportunities for Schelde.

The corvettes will be equipped with MBDA VL MICA anti-air missiles and an Oto Melara 76 mm medium-calibre gun. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) revealed the latest iteration of the SIGMA 9814 corvette being acquired by the Vietnam People's Navy (VPN) during the Vietship 2014 exhibition in Hanoi.

By January 2012 the Vietnamese People's Navy was reportedly equipped with its first ever locally-manufactured warship design. Vietnam People's Navy designed and built the first TT-400TP gunboat. Publically-released details of the warship's size, performance and firepower were initially limited, but it was clear that, with the warship, a long-established naval power had a new capability. According to Vietnamese media sources, the warship boasted missile systems and artillery. Construction on it commenced in 2009, with sea trials taking place in 2011. A product of the Hong Ha company based in Hai Phong (a major Vietnamese city, whose name translates to ‘coastal defence), the Vietnamese Navy warship was said to have a 2,000+ mile range. Vietnam's VnExpress has published a piece on this new People's Navy warship, quoting one official as having described the vessel's role as territorial in nature: according to Rear Admiral Pham Ngoc Minh, it will carry out border patrol sorties.

In October 2013 the Vietnamese Navy began sea trials of the first "Molniya" Project 12418 Tarantul V missile boats, built under license from Russia by enterprises of the national shipbuilding industry. According to the test results of the first two missile boats Vietnamese party would take a decision on the construction of four more ships of this type.

The contract for construction of four Project 12418 missile boats for Vietnam may be signed in 2015, Oleg Belkov, the director general of the Vympel shipyard, told TASS at the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA 2015) 19 March 2015.

Under a contract signed in 2003, Vietnam received two Russia-made vessels, and another ten are to be assembled under a licence in the Asian country. Construction of the first one of Project 12418 started in Vietnam in 2010. The licence is valid through to 2016. According to Belkov, the four new missile boats Vietnam and Russia may sign a contract for will feature upgraded shipboard equipment.

The gas-turbine engines for the missile boats are produced at Ukraine's Zorya-Mashproekt plant in Nikolayev, but that won't cause any problems, the director said. The engines will be supplied directly to Vietnam. Belkov noted that there is the option of using Russian-made engines as well.

The Vietnam People's Navy is building Coastal defense missile force as the core force in maritime security strategy, equipped with Russian and Indian missile systems. The Vietnamese Navy has already produced for itself the P-5 Pyatyorka/Shaddock anti-ships missile, with a range upgraded to 550 km. Vietnam was the only customer to which the USSR exported this missile system. Russia s delivered two K-300P Bastion-P coastal defense systems to Vietnam. The Bastion system uses the P-800 Oniks/Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missile, primarily used to attack targets on land and sea, with an attack range of 300 km.

By 2018 India was set to assist Vietnam in weaponising two of its Petya class frigates for an anti-submarine role. The frigates, which were procured from Russia, have been operating with reduced capabilities and Vietnam is keen to get them modernised to meet the challenging requirements its navy faces in the region. The package to upgrade the ships would include a new sonar system, torpedo launchers, a fire control system and a new antisubmarine rocket launcher system. While Vietnam has a total of five Petya class frigates, the initial order was to upgrade two and a larger contract may come up at a later stage. The initial contract is expected to be close to Rs 200 crore.

Vietnam is also set to get at least 10 new patrol boats from India under the line of credit route. A contract for at least 10 new interceptor craft to be built by L&T was in the pipeline. The interceptor craft, a version of which is also being used by the Indian Coast Guard, are designed to meet coastal surveillance and security requirements. The contract was valued at around Rs 600 crore.

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Page last modified: 06-07-2020 19:46:28 ZULU