Apr 17 2011 By Dave Pugliese Defence Watch
The Vietnamese Navy officially recently took into service the Russian-built Gepard-class stealth frigate, according to Aviation Week’s Defense Technology blog. The ship, named Dinh Tien Hoang, is one of two stealth frigates built for Vietnam by Zelenodolsk shipbuilding under a 2006 contract with Russia. Vietnam became the first foreign customer of the Gepard-class, which was originally launched in 2003, the magazine noted. The second Vietnam-bound Gepard has been in sea trials since August 2010; with the first Gepard arriving five months late, the induction date of the second frigate is still unknown. Vietnam's 2,100-ton Gepard-3.9 model ships boast a top speed of 28 knots, eight Switchblade anti-ship missile batteries, and hangar space for one Ka-28 or Ka-31 helicopter.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Heavy Industries launched the Navy's (ROKN's) third Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence-equipped KDX-III destroyer, Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong, in mid-March, according to Defense News. It is scheduled to enter service with the ROKN in August 2012 after sea trials. The 7,600-ton warship has a top speed of 30 knots, is armed with 16 Hae Sung long-range anti-ship missiles (similar to the US Harpoon), a 127mm main gun, and can carry two SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, the newspaper noted. Two other KDX-IIIs were launched in 2008 and 2010, respectively, and the ROKN considered doubling its KDX-III numbers in light of North Korean aggression in 2010, though Seoul decided on six more smaller KDX-IIA that have similar missile defence capabilities, it added.