11/05/2014 Defence IQ Press
Vietnam’s Navy is evolving into a robust, effective maritime force in South East Asia with the delivery of a third Kilo-class submarine from Russia expected this month. A Vietnamese crew is currently training in waters off St Petersburg aboard the submarine ahead of the handover.
In 2009 the country signed its largest ever defence contract with a $2.6 billion deal agreed with Moscow for the Kilo-class submarines. A fourth is undergoing sea trials ahead of its delivery while the remaining two are being built.
The Kilo-class possesses short-range torpedoes and can launch sea-skimming anti-ship missiles while submerged.
Known to have strong – and remarkably resilient – land forces, Vietnam is now bolstering its naval forces to establish a reputation as a sea power nation too. The Chinese Navy has considerably more maritime clout holding over 70 submarines but the emergence of a Vietnamese presence at sea will transform the balance of power in the region.