Vietnam accelerates military build-up

By An Hong   May 31, 2016 | 06:40 pm GMT+7

Vietnam is in talks with a Russian shipbuilder to purchase two more advanced Gepard-class frigates, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

As Vietnam aims to strengthen its naval muscle, the deal will expand its fleet to six frigates built at Russian shipyard Zelenodolsk.

The Russian shipyard launched the fourth Gepard-3.9 frigate destined for Vietnam last Thursday. The ceremony took place at the shipyard with the attendance of Vietnam’s Navy Commissioner.

The third frigate that Vietnam contracted the Zelenodolsk shipyard to build was put to sea late last month.

The third and fourth frigates will be delivered to Vietnam in August and September this year, Russian news agency TASS recently reported.

vietnam-accelerates-military-build-up

The third Gepard-3.9-class frigate will be delivered to the Vietnamese Navy this year. Project 11661 Gepard Class light frigates are developed and built for export. Photo by Zelenodolsk Shipyard 

Vietnam's first two 2200-ton Gepard-class 3.9 frigates and missile escort vessels Dinh Tien Hoang (HQ-011) and Ly Thai To (HQ-012) were dispatched to Vietnam in 2011 and 2012.

The first pair of frigates are armed with missiles while the second pair are more anti-submarine oriented, according to the shipbuilder.

The Gepard-class are armed with a missile system, torpedoes and gun boats.

They are designed to perform search and rescue, track and destroy, and escort and patrol missions in territorial waters.