03 Mei 2009

Vietnam Considers Additional Su-22s

5 Maret 2004
Su-22 of the Vietnamese People's Army Air Force (photo : HungDo-Militaryphotos)
Vietnam is considering the acquisition of 10 upgraded Sukhoi Su-22 ground-attack aircraft to cushion the cost of its air force build-up, which has seen Hanoi focus on the far more expensive Su-27 interceptor/ ground attack and Su-30 multirole fighters in recent years .

Potential suppliers include the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. However, it is unclear if talks currently under way involve modified aircraft or whether an upgrade programme would be pursued separately once the platforms are obtained.

Sources following development of the Vietnamese People's Army Air Force told JDW that one option involves Hanoi acquiring the Su-22U tandem two-seat combat trainer.

This would see the upgrade include capabilities adapting the second seat to accommodate a mission specialist.
Su-22 of the Vietnamese Air Force (photo : HungDo-Militaryphotos)

Vietnam's inventory of strike aircraft currently includes up to 53 Su-17/-20/-22 aircraft. Published reports indicate that 32 single-seat Su-22M4 and two twin-seat Su-22UM3 aircraft were upgraded by Russian companies between 1996 and 1998.

The air force also has seven Su-27SK and five Su-27UBK/ Su-30K air-superiority fighters. These too are expected to undergo an upgrade as Hanoi requires them to operate the Vympel R-77 (AA-12) beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile; the Vympel Kh-29 (AS-14) air-to-surface missile; the Kh-31 (AS-17) anti-ship missile; and the Kh-59M (AS-18) air-to-surface missile.

Vietnam more recently ordered four Su-30MK multirole fighters at a cost of $120 million for delivery between 2004 and 2005 (JDW 17 December 2003).

Some sources indicate that eight more could be obtained, making a total of 12 platforms, while others suggest the requirement could be higher. It is not known what effect an acquisition of upgraded Su-22s would have on these plans.


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