24 April 2009

Vietnam Stocking Up 'SCUDS'

14 April 1999

Vietnam has obtained a quantity of surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs) from North Korea to supplement its inventory of Russian-made SS-1 'Scud B' SSMs, Asian-based intelligence sources have revealed to Jane's Defence Weekly.

The new SSMs are described as "modified Scuds", but neither the specific designation nor the quantity is known. The phrasing suggests they may be of the 'Scud C' variant, which North Korea began to develop in 1984.

North Korea's Scud C / Hwasong 6 (photo : Geocities)
Vietnamese Scud B (photo : Hoangsa)

Pyongyang produced 'Scud B' and 'Scud C' SSMs from the late 1980s to early 1990s but production probably ceased when its focus shifted to the more sophisticated Nodong and Taepo Dong ballistic missile programmes.

The 'Scud B' has a range of 300km and a payload of 985kg. The 'Scud C' extends this range to 550km and has a reduced payload of 770kg, along with improved guidance. The SSM purchase may have been finalised by Vietnamese vice defence minister Nguyen Thoi Bung, since retired, during his December 1996 visit to Pyongyang. It formed part of a package deal worth an estimated $100 million, probably paid in whole or in part through barter arrangements for commodities such as rice.

Other elements of the package included two Sang-o-class submarines (JDW 9 December), a quantity of Igla (probably SA-16 'Gimlet') man portable air-defence systems and, perhaps, other items. The report of North Korea's missile sale to Vietnam coincides with the unsuccessful conclusion of a fourth round of talks between Pyongyang and Washington on missile non-proliferation. The USA is seeking an end to North Korea's development, testing, deployment and export of ballistic missiles.

Sumber : Jane’s

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