(From the National Interest)
Vietnam is negotiating with American and European manufacturers to purchase new warplanes—including fighters, maritime patrol aircraft and unmanned aircraft. The move comes as part of Hanoi’s strategy to lessen its dependence on Russian hardware and to counter China’s growing power.
According to Reuter’s Siva Govindasamy, Vietnam has been in talks with contractors who build the Saab JAS-39E/F Gripen NG, Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet. It’s also taken a hard look at Korea’s F/A-50 lightweight fighter—which was developed in cooperation with Lockheed.
Assuming Hanoi can reach a deal, Vietnam could buy up to a hundred combat aircraft to replace its antiquated fleet of 144 Mikoyan MiG-21 Fishbeds and thirty-eight Sukhoi Su-22 Fitter strike aircraft. The new aircraft would supplement Vietnam’s existing fleet of Russian-made Flanker air superiority fighters. Hanoi operates about a dozen original model Sukhoi Su-27 Flankers and thirty-two more modern Su-30MK2 Flankers with four more on order. Read more