(BGF) – The Strait Times reported Vietnam’s acquisition of more fighter weapons to counter a potential adversary of superior military capability. This initiative shows that Vietnam would be no pushover to try seizing the South China Sea. Click here to read the full article
Vietnam prepares to better protect its S. China Sea claims
January 10, 2012 by Robert Karniol
(The Straits Times) – Like China, Vietnam faces the same dilemma in seeking to counter a potential adversary of superior military capability.
Hanoi’s acquisitions of the Su-30MK multi-role fighter and the Gepard-class frigate are indicative of its A2/AD effort. Rather than looking at the numbers involved, consider the armament.
The fighter’s weapons fit is thought to include the Kh-59MK anti-ship cruise missile which has a 115-km range, while the frigate carries the Kh-35E anti-ship missile. The latter has an operational range of 130 km and can attack vessels of up to 5,000 tons.
Hanoi’s outstanding order for six Kilo- class submarines fits significantly into this mix as well. The weapons fit is expected to include the sea-skimming 3M-54 Klub anti-ship missile, ranging up to 300 km.
Meanwhile, land-based coastal defense has recently been strengthened through the Extended Range Artillery Munition obtained from Israel, a short-range ballistic missile effective beyond 150km, while air defense capabilities were bolstered by three sophisticated Vera passive radio locators from Czech Republic. Washington initially blocked the Vera sale but later reversed its decision.
These and similar initiatives show that Vietnam would be no pushover were the PLA to try seizing the South China Sea. Mirroring Beijing’s A2/AD strategy, Hanoi is introducing capabilities that threaten to make any Chinese adventurism there more complex and more costly than a simple comparison of air and naval assets suggests.
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