Vietnam stages inaugural defence exhibition

Vietnam Peoples Army Scud-B missile system
Vietnam Peoples Army Scud-B missile system

Over 170 local and international companies from 30 countries are showcasing their products and solutions at the Vietnam Defence Expo, which is being run for the first time in the Southeast Asian country from 8-10 December in Hanoi.

Hosted by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) at a refurbished airbase in Gia Lam, the event also features a static display of the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA)’s latest capabilities, including its Russian-made T-90S and T-90SK main battle tanks (MBTs) that were delivered around 2019.

The three-day event is aimed at helping Vietnam “diversify procurement channels and sources of technologies to produce military equipment for the country’s armies and for exports,” the MND said in a statement in November.

Most of Vietnam’s defence acquisitions have thus far been sourced from Russia, which was for decades been the country’s main supplier of defence equipment. According to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Hanoi is one of Russia’s biggest defence customers.

However, reports have emerged that Vietnam’s reliance on Russia is on the wane as it strives for greater self-sufficiency and more advanced systems, as well as concern over the dismal battlefield performance of Russian equipment in the invasion of Ukraine.

The MND had in August announced a series of reforms to reduce reliance on defence imports and modernise the armed forces. The latest development follows the introduction of a new government directive earlier this year aimed at boosting domestic defence industrial capability in the coming decade.

Some of these efforts include restructuring the MND’s General Department of Defence Industry (GDDI), a state-run conglomerate of approximately 60 defence production centres, research institutes, and corporate enterprises.

Another main focus of the reforms is to encourage international partnerships to support joint defence research and development projects as well as technology transfers into Vietnam.

by Jr Ng