29 Desember 2014
Vietnam's Kilo-class submarines are all equipped with 3M-14E Klub-S ballistic missiles (photo : H. My)
Vietnam's Kilo-submarines to potentially blockade Spratly islands
Vietnam's six Kilo-class submarines purchased from Russia are very likely to be used to cut off the supply line of the People's Liberation Army's garrison at the disputed Spratly islands according to the Duowei News on Dec. 24.
China's nationalist tabloid the Global Times said that the People's Navy of Vietnam had already received three Kilo-class submarines from Russia. Vietnam's Kilo-class submarines are all equipped with 3M-14E Klub-S ballistic missiles. With an attacking range of 280 kilometers, the missile can reach Guangdong province's Zhanjiang, where China's South Sea Fleet headquarters is located. China's major naval facilities on Hainan island are also within reach. In addition, the Kilo-submarines can attack PLA supply ships with its GE2-01 radar-guided torpedoes.
The Global Times did say however that the PLA Navy has something up its sleeve to counter the new Vietnamese subs. Three Type 094 Jin-class ballistic missile submarines have already been sent to Hainan island just in case of a potential conflict over the Spratlys. China would also deploy its Type 093 Shang-class nuclear-powered attack submarines to the region if needed.
Despite the advantage the Vietnamese Kilos have in land attack and anti-ship capabilities, Taipei-based Asia Pacific Defense magazine said that they are not designed to fight enemy submarines.
Also, as China has already been using Russian subs for quite some time and has a strong knowledge concerning the Kilos weaknesses, the PLA Navy has a better chance of inflicting serious damage on the Vietnamese purchases should a battle take place, according to the Global Times. (WantChinaTimes)
Vietnam's ballistic missile can strike southern China: Kanwa
With an attacking range of 280 kilometers, the Vietnamese navy's 3M-14E Klub-S submarine-launched ballistic missile can be used against China's Hainan and Guangdong provinces when launched from southern Vietnam's Cam Ranh Bay, military analyst Andrei Chang, also known as Pinkov, wrote in an article for the Kanwa Defense Review, a Chinese-language military magazine based in Canada.
The purchase of 3M-14E ballistic missiles from Russia makes Vietnam's six Kilo-class 636MV submarines more powerful than their Chinese counterparts. Pinkov said the 3M-14E is only allowed to be exported to Algeria, India and Vietnam. It is not allowed to be installed aboard China's Kilo-class MV submarines yet. In a war between China and Vietnam, the Vietnamese navy is very likely to use the submarines in the vanguard against the PLA Navy.
The Vietnamese subs have also undergone a number of modifications to make them quieter. In a potential operation against China's South Sea Fleet based in Zhanjiang in Guangdong, the ballistic missile can be used in coordination with satellites. Compared to China's 3M-54E ballistic missile which has a range of only 220 kilometers, Vietnam's 3M-14E can reach 280 kilometers. This is enough for the People's Navy of Vietnam to attack critical Chinese naval targets in Hainan and Guangdong.
Russia has transferred all technologies Vietnam needs to operate the submarines. Unlike China, Vietnam does not have the tradition of reverse engineering the military hardware it acquires from Russia. Furthermore, Vietnam has India as its major ally in the region. Pinkov said India may provide more assistance to Vietnam than Russia since they operate Kilo-class submarines in waters of a similar temperature. However, a source said that both countries have to send their submarines back to Russia for overhaul.
In addition to Kilo-class submarines, the People's Air Force of Vietnam is likely to deploy its first Su-30MK2 fighters purchased from Russia to Cam Ranh Bay. By 2015, Vietnam is estimated to operate 32 Su-30MK2 in the region. Those fighters can increase Vietnam's force projection capability against China over the disputed Spratly islands.