Following are impressions from the main foreign exhibits at Vietnam Defence 2022
At the Vietnam Defense Exhibition, Russia was represented by Rosoboronexport, Rostec, and United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), but the displays mainly consisted of models. The Russian exhibit reflected their attempt to focus on what works in combat and minimize focus on the hardware that has shown poor performance in Ukraine. In this context, artillery rocket systems of various sizes, including a compact launcher of six 300mm rockets adapted for light trucks, were on display, with rockets modified to provide precision strike capability with an accuracy of 30 meters at a flight distance of 120 km. This trend is likely the Russian response and lessons from the successful performance of the Lockheed Martin M-142 HIMARS – the US equivalent used extensively by Ukraine with its M31 227mm precision-guided rockets. To gather accurate target information at these ranges, Russian artillery units could use the Orlan drones, which were also on display.
India had a strong presence at the exhibition, with 20 exhibitors from the public and private sectors and research and development organizations. The main focus was on the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, which has achieved operational capability with the Indian navy and army and is being flight tested on Indian Su-30 MKI strike fighter jets similar to the Su-30s used by Vietnam. India has already sold the BrahMos to the Philippines and is negotiating to sell it to Indonesia and Vietnam. Other weapon systems promoted at the exhibition included the AKASH air defense systems, ASTRA beyond visual range air-to-air missile (also developed for India’s Su-30MKI and Tejas MK1), and an 8×8 wheeled Armored Platform (WhAP) APC that could potentially replace Vietnam’s legacy BTRs.
Since lifting trade sanctions in 2016, the US has gradually increased defense trade with Vietnam, including selling T-6C training aircraft and pilot training through Foreign Military Support funds. Sales of F-16 fighter jets and C-130J transport aircraft are also in the works. Participating companies included Lockheed Martin, Textron, Honeywell, and Aerovironment.
In recent years, Vietnam has been looking to diversify its arms suppliers beyond Russia and has already acquired Israeli Spyder air defense systems and Trigon coastal defense rockets. Vietnam has also expressed interest in the Israeli Barak 8 air defense system as part of a $500 million investment.
Czech and Slovak Republics
The Vietnam defense market is of interest to the Czech and Slovak defense industries, which are organized under the CSG group. This enterprise brings together 11 companies from both countries, including Excalibur Army (armored vehicle manufacturer), Tatra Defense Vehicles (truck producer), MSM Group (ammunition provider), Retia (radar specialist), and others.