Russian military-technical cooperation with Vietnam has become more virtual in the course of the past several years. More so, right after the events of September 11 in New York, Russia has liquidated its former soviet military base in Kamran. Perhaps, this was due to a special request from the US, perhaps, due to the lack of money, but the fact remains. Everything seemed to be clear at first. However, Vietnam has suddenly expressed its desire to completely re-equip its army with Russian weapons. What could this mean?
It has become known today that Vietnamese Ministry of Defense has already agreed on all the terms and conditions of a new military contract with “Rosoboronexport” (Russian Defense Export). Vietnam plans to purchase Su-30MK fighters. According to various sources, the deal may cost about 150mln USD. More so, Russian information agencies report that Vietnam already considers purchasing eight more fighters of the same kind. Overall, Vietnamese army already possesses twenty four fighters of the “Su” (“Sukhoi”) brand. It is not that much, but in skilled hands… Actually, Vietnam does not intend to start a war right now. However, it will do no harm to strengthen its defense during such peaceful times.
According to the information obtained from Russian information agencies and from the “Sukhoi” (Su) factory, every single parameter of the contract has been discussed in details. It was scheduled to be signed by the end of the year. Vietnam will acquire the first four Russian fighters by the end of this year. Interestingly, “Rosoboronexport” refuses to comment the deal. This does not look like the time Russia was exporting its weapons to Malaysia or Indonesia. Why? Hopefully, some new facts will be unveiled in a not so distant future.
In the meantime, workers and engineers of the aviation production factory in Komsomolsk-na-Amure are preoccupied with the production of several flying machines for Vietnam. The airplanes will be identical to those exported to China.
Despite lack of comments from the Russian armoires, experts notice a significant interest in Russian weaponry among South-Eastern Asian markets. With the renewal of export of Russian weapons, Vietnam appears third among all the countries of the Asian Pacific region with promising business perspectives.
Russian fighters however are not the only commodities that Vietnam plans to acquire from Russia. In summer of 2003, both countries signed several contracts for exporting torpedo boats and two divisions of antiaircraft rocket systems C-300PMU to Vietnam. It all cost 120mln USD and 250mln USD. Vietnam plans to purchase Russian armory on a sum exceeding half a billion dollars. Experts claim that this is a record sum in military relations between the countries since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Experts also report that this year is a successful one for “Rosoboronexporr,” due to a significant number of contracts signed with South-East Asia. About fifty fighters have been already reserved for sale to South-East Asia. In January, the company sold 24 fighters Su-30MKK to China, in April, it sold two fighters Su-27 and Su-30 to Indonesia, and in August the company signed a contract to sell 18 fighters Su-30MKM to Malaysia. Well, not bad.