Vietnam’s Restocking: Subs, Ships, Sukhois, and Now Perhaps F-16s and P-3s?

Kilo to China

Kilo Class shipping

May 1/17: Vietnam has started to take delivery external link of some components needed for the assembly of three RV-02 medium-range radars. The system is an improvement on the Vostok-E VHF radar external link made by Belarus, of which Hanoi bought 20 of the radars as an asymmetric warfare strategy against stealth fighters from China including the J-20 and J-31 over the disputed South China Sea. Acceptance and commission checks were conducted by engineers from Vietnam’s Examination Council of the PK-KQ Technical Institute.


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Kilo Class cutaway(click to view full) In April 2009, reports surfaced that Vietnam had agreed in principle to a deal with Russia for 6 of its diesel-electric Kilo/ Project 636 Class fast attack submarines. By December 2009, it was an inflection-point deal for a capability that Vietnam has never had before. By November 2013, the new submarines had begun to arrive. Nor is that the only change in Vietnam’s military capabilities these days, courtesy of their long-standing relationship with Russia. There have been some outside deals for items like maritime surveillance floatplanes, and a Dutch deal will provide high-end frigates. For the most part, however, Vietnam’s new combat power in the air, at sea, and on land is coming from Russia. China’s displays of naval might are only part of the mosaic influencing Vietnam’s decisions in these matters. Vietnam’s New Military Buys: Considerations & Conclusions Southeast Asia(click to view full) China’s 2009 display of naval might certainly marks an increased shift toward “forward defense” farther from its borders, a policy that must eventually include China’s trade lifeline to Vietnam’s south, through the Straits of Malacca. It also underlined a growing gap between China’s increasingly advanced ships and high capacity hovercraft, […]

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