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Vietnam to receive two more Gepard-class warships soon: gov’t site

Monday, May 25, 2015, 11:16 GMT+7

The Vietnam People's Navy will soon get their hands on two new Gepard-class 3.9 frigates, the third and fourth of their kind which Russia has built for the Southeast Asian country, as the shipbuilder has just completed them, government website reported, quoting Russian media.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

Russia has finished the construction of the two frigates for the Vietnamese navy, Russian news website Sputnik quoted Rafi Fatychow, spokesman for the Zelenodolsk shipyard, as saying last week.

Weapons will be installed on the two warships soon, Fatychow said at a forum on the maritime industry held in Moscow from May 19 to 21.

Gepard-class 3.9 frigates are an export version of the guard vessels under project 11661 of Russia, which are built in the Zelenodolsk shipyard in the Russian republic of Tatarstan.

The two warships will be delivered to Vietnam as soon as the weapons are installed, Sputnik quoted Fatykhow as saying.

In terms of features, the two new ships are similar to the first two Gepard-class 3.9 vessels under the Vietnam People's Navy.

The difference is that the second pair will be equipped with anti-submarine weapons, torpedo tubes, and other modern devices used for detecting enemy submarines. The ships also use modern generators with improved features.

Thus, the two new warships can effectively fight targets in the air, sea, and underwater, said.

Vietnam’s first two Gepard-class 3.9 frigates, the missile escort vessels Dinh Tien Hoang (HQ-011) and Ly Thai To (HQ-012), built by the Rosoboronexport Company at the Zelenodolsk shipyard, were dispatched to Brigade No.162 under Naval Region 4 under the Vietnam People's Navy four years ago.

Naval Region 4 is an independent naval command managing and protecting Vietnam’s Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago, Phu Quy Island, the East Vietnam Sea and the south-central coast, from Phu Yen to the north of Binh Thuan, including the coastal provinces of Phu Yen, Khanh Hoa, and Ninh Thuan.

The multipurpose frigates, designed to track and destroy floating targets and to perform other specialized tasks including air defense, anti-submarine, escort and patrol, can enter combat independently or in squadrons.

The two warships, worth US$350 million each, were built following a contract signed by Vietnam and Russia on May 12, 2006, and are also equipped with stealth technology to minimize their presence on enemy radar screens.

Following the request of the Vietnam People's Navy, the two vessels under Project 11661 were completely redesigned to include stealth technology and the most advanced weapons available from Russia.

The new technologies and weapons include two 30mm AO-18KD / 6K30GSh cannons, Kh-35 UranE anti-ship missiles with a range of 130 kilometers, and eight Sosna-R. Palma laser-guided surface-to-air missile launchers with the ability to disable air targets at a distance of up to 8,000 meters and height of up to 3,500 meters.

The ships can also accommodate the multi-role Ka-27 Helix naval helicopter, which can perform anti-ship and submarine hunting tasks.

French shipyard Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN) last week introduced a model of a corvette known as the C Sword 90 at the IMDEX 2015 exhibition in Singapore in an effort to market it to navies that operate in littoral waters, especially in the Southeast Asian region, defense news website IHS Jane's reported.

The corvette, powered by two propulsion diesel engines and two controlled pitch propellers, has a maximum speed of 28 knots (52 km/h) and can attain a standard range of 7,000 nautical miles at 12 knots.

It can carry a crew of 65 with additional berths for 20. The C Sword 90 can be equipped with either a 57 mm or a 76 mm gun as a primary weapon and up to two 20 mm or 30 mm cannons as secondary armaments.

The vessel has space for a 16-cell vertical launch system for surface-to-air missiles and can accommodate up to eight surface-to-surface missiles, according to CMN.

The corvette can also be armed with one hull-mounted sonar system, a towed array module and up to two triple-tube torpedo launchers for submarine hunting, CMN said.

CMN is targeting countries including Malaysia and Vietnam, both of which have articulated a requirement for corvettes in the near- to medium-term, IHS Jane's reported.

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