|Vietnam People's Navy
Hải quân nhân dân Việt Nam
|Size||45,000 officers and sailors
66 surface ships and submarines
|Part of||Vietnam People's Army|
|Headquarters||Hai Phong, Vietnam|
|Motto||Đảo là nhà, Biển cả là quê hương (Island is home, Sea is country)|
|March||Lướt sóng ra khơi (Surfing to the sea)|
|Anniversaries||7 May 1955|
Johnson South Reef Skirmish
|Battle honours||Gulf of Tonkin incident
Battle of Đồng Hới
|Commander||Admiral Nguyễn Văn Hiến|
|Political Commissar||Vice Admiral Tran Thanh Huyen|
|Chief of Staff||Vice Admiral Pham Ngoc Minh|
|Vice Commander||Vice Admiral Nguyễn Viết Nhiên
Vice Admiral Nguyễn Văn Ninh
Rear Admiral Lê Minh Thành
|Vice Political Commissar||Rear Admiral Nguyễn Ngọc Tương|
|Patrol||C-212, DHC-6, EC225|
The Vietnam People's Navy (commonly, Vietnamese Navy – Vietnamese: Hải quân nhân dân Việt Nam) is part of the Vietnam People's Army and is responsible for the protection of national waters, islands, and interests of the maritime economy, as well as for the coordination of maritime police, customs service and the border defense force.
From the beginning of Vietnam in the 1st millennium BC, the Hùng Vuong period spawned many legends of fighting against seaborne invasions of Quynh Chau from the north and Ho Ton from the south. In the Kingdom of Âu Lạc era, when the Cổ Loa Citadel was constructed, King An Dương Vương relied on the Hoang Giang River as a natural fortification to protect the south flank of the cidatel. In the 6th century, Emperor Lý Nam Đế built naval forces to fend off the invasion of Liang Dynasty's forces in the Tô Lịch River, Dien Triet lake; and then, King Triệu Quang Phục executed guerrilla tactics on Chinese military at Da Trach lagoon (Khoái Châu, Hải Dương nowadays).
In the 10th century, the national Vietnamese Navy became a regularized force. Naval forces of Khúc Thừa Dụ in Hong Chau (now is Ninh Giang District, Hải Dương), Dương Đình Nghệ in Ai Chau, Thanh Hóa and King Ngô Quyền were raised by enlisting and training the fishermen along rivers and seasides. Those elements became well-trained and experienced naval forces, ready to protect the country.
In Lý–Trần Dynasty era, the dynasties were occupied with raising naval forces and naval bases. Particularly, the Vân Đồn port has an important role in protecting the northeast territorial waters of Vietnam. In 1075 Lý Thường Kiệt mobilized a fleet to ferry 50,000 marines across the Gulf of Tonkin to invade Qinzhou. The amphibious assault was well planned and executed with incredible speed that Qinzhou's garrison was totally taken by surprise. The fortress town was taken in one night.
To retaliate, Song dynasty mustered a huge invasion force, with a naval arm to provide supports to land operations. They were already fearful of Vietnam's reputation at sea combat, thus a large enough force was organize so as to "not lose even if they can't score a win". Lý Kế Nguyên- a Vietnamese commander stationed in Vân Đồn, Quảng Ninh however had absolute confidence in his fleet that he went on the offensive and took on the Chinese invasion fleet at high sea. Lý defeated the Chinese so badly that their admiral sent messengers to urge Chinese coastal guards to fortify their post in fear of a reverse-invasion.
In 1077, the Imperial Vietnamese Navy fought the Battle of Cầu River against the Chinese Song Dynasty forces. This was the final battle Song Dynasty would fight on Vietnamese land or waters. The battle lasted for several months, and ended with the victory of the Vietnamese Navy and the loss of many Song sailors. This victory demonstrated the successful tactics of war and active defense of the famous Admiral Lý Thường Kiệt who faced a naval force numerically superior to his own. The Song Dynasty lost a total of 8,000 soldiers/sailors and 5,19 million ounces of silver, including all costs of the war.
The largest battles (officially recorded in history) were three naval encounters (all three are called Battle of Bạch Đằng): Ngô Quyền against the Chinese Southern Han forces in 938 (killed over 10,000 and captured hundreds of Chinese sailors, killed Chinese Prince Liu Hongcao); Lê Hoàn against Song Dynasty in 981; and Trần Quốc Tuấn against Yuan Dynasty (Mongol) in 1288 (over 80,000 Yuan Mongol sailors killed or captured, more than 400 Yuan ships destroyed, Mongol Commander Sogetu perished, and Yuan Admiral Omar captured).
The Đại Việt sử ký toàn thư records that in 1467 in An Bang province of Đại Việt (now Quảng Ninh Province) a Chinese ship blew off course onto the shore. The Chinese were detained and not allowed to return to China as ordered by Lê Thánh Tông. This incident may be the same one where Wu Rui was captured. One of the renown victories in Vietnamese Naval history was the Battle of Rạch Gầm-Xoài Mút in Tây Sơn Dynasty, during which Nguyễn Huệ (Emperor Quang Trung) defeated the Siamese (Thai) naval force. The battle occurred in present-day Tiền Giang Province on 19 January 1785. Nguyễn Huệ's forces completely destroyed over 50,000 Siamese sailors and 300 warships.
In the Nguyễn Dynasty period, 19th century Emperor Gia Long used his new base to improve the Vietnamese Navy. Gia Long had first attempted to acquire modern naval vessels in 1781, when on the advice of Pigneau de Behaine, he had chartered Portuguese vessels of European design, complete with crew and artillery. This initial experience proved to be disastrous. For reasons that remain unclear, two of the vessels fled in the midst of battle against the Tây Sơn, while angry Vietnamese soldiers killed the third crew.
In 1789, Pigneau de Behaine returned to Vietnam from Pondicherry with two vessels, which stayed in the Nguyễn Dynasty service long-term. Over time, Vietnamese sailors replaced the original French and Indian crew under the command of French officers. These vessels became the foundation for an expanded military and merchant Nguyễn Dynasty naval force, with Gia Long chartering and purchasing more European vessels to reinforce Vietnamese-built ships. However, traditional Vietnamese-style galleys and small sailing ships remained the majority of the fleet. In 1799, a British trader by the name of Berry reported that the Nguyễn Dynasty's fleet had departed Saigon along the Saigon River with 100 galleys, 40 junks, 200 smaller boats and 800 carriers, accompanied by three European sloops. In 1801, one naval division was reported to have included nine European vessels armed with 60 guns, five vessels with 50 guns, 40 with 16 guns, 100 junks, 119 galleys and 365 smaller boats.
In the middle of the 19th century, the Vietnamese Navy fought against the French in many battles. Due to disadvantages in technology, the Vietnamese Navy could not defeat the French Navy, but there were still several battles during which the Vietnamese Navy caused heavy damages to the French. The Vietnamese were especially successful in the Battle of Nhat Tao canal held by Nguyễn Trung Trực on 10 December 1861. Nguyen Trung Truc's naval forces ambushed the French brig L'Esperance at the Vam Co River, Mekong Delta. Truc's 150 men were grouped into three columns. The first group of 61 sailors under Hoang Khac Nhuong was to attack a nearby pro-French village in order to provoke an incident and lure the French forces into an ambush. Truc commanded the second group of 59 partisans along with Vo Van Quang, and was assigned to burn and sink the vessel. A third force of 30 sailors was commanded by Ho Quang and Nguyen Van Hoc. Due to the surprise attack, the French Navy suffered major damage: the brig L'Esperance was sunk, 17 French sailors and 20 pro-Vietnamese naval auxiliaries were killed, only eight people escaped, including two French sailors and six sailors of Tagal (Filipino) background employed by the French.
Vietnam War period
On 19 July 1946, Acting President of Democratic Republic of Vietnam Huỳnh Thúc Kháng signed into law a decree establishing the modern Vietnamese Navy. Then, on 10 September of that year, General Võ Nguyên Giáp started to build a flotilla as the core of the new navy. On 8 March 1949, Vietnam established the Department of Naval Research under the General Staff. This department has performed both research and training to prepare for combat missions.
Following the Geneva Conference in 1954, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam went about creating its own naval forces. On 7 May 1955 the Vietnam People's Navy was created with the establishment of the General Directorate of Coastal Defence, it formed the basis for the Navy Operational Command (based on the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence decree No. 284/ND signed by General Võ Nguyên Giáp to established Naval Research Board, under the General Staff, on 8 March 1949). The primary mission of the Navy was to patrol the coastal areas and the inland waterways.
Throughout the Vietnam War the role played by the Vietnam People's Navy (or North Vietnamese Navy) was largely unknown to the public. However on 2 August 1964, three North Vietnamese Swatow-class patrol boats attacked the USS Maddox in what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. The second attack, which the United States claimed to have occurred on 4 August, was dismissed by the North Vietnamese as a fabrication.
The North Vietnamese, however, had maintained their own version of the events which took place. According to official VPN accounts the Maddox penetrated North Vietnamese waters on 31 July 1964, and provoked a battle with the North Vietnamese. In response to American provocation, three 123K class torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Boat Battalion were dispatched to intercept the American destroyer. The resulting clash became known as the 'Battle of Thanh Hóa' in which North Vietnamese "torpedo boats succeeded in driving the Maddox out of Vietnam's territorial waters, shooting down a U.S. aircraft and damaging another".
Apart from patrolling territorial waters, the Navy also had the mission of transporting military supplies to support the Vietnam People's Army and their NLF ally during the Vietnam War. On 31 October 1961, a sea route version of the Ho Chi Minh trail was established by the North Vietnam Navy, with the 759th Transport Unit responsible for carrying military supplies and other goods for the Communist ground forces in South Vietnam. In order to avoid detection by the South Vietnamese and U.S navies, North Vietnamese transport ships were often disguised as fishing trawlers. On 16 February 1965, a 100-ton North Vietnamese trawler from the Transportation Group 125 was discovered at Vung Ro Bay. This led to the creation of Operation Market Time by the US Navy to intercept disguised enemy ships.
On 19 April 1972, the North Vietnamese Navy and Air Force participated in the Battle of Đồng Hới off the coast of North Vietnam. During this battle it was believed that the U.S Navy destroyed a Soviet-made cruise missile for the first time. The USS Higbee was damaged after an VPAF MiG-17 dropped a 250 lb (110 kg) bomb, destroying a 5" aft gun mount.
In the years following the complete withdrawal of U.S and other allied forces, the North Vietnamese went back on the offensive. As part of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the North Vietnamese Navy increased the transportation of military supplies, food and uniform to the Communist forces in the South. When the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) occupied the northern provinces of South Vietnam in 1975, captured South Vietnamese vessels were pressed into service with the Vietnam People's Navy. On April 1975, ex-South Vietnamese Navy vessels carried North Vietnamese troops to capture the Spratly Islands. Opening battle in the island Southwest Cay (vietnamese: Song Tử tây) in 4 April 1975, amphibious raid by sea of the Naval Marine corp number 1 (precursor of the 126th Brigade Naval Marine corps) and three vessels of the 125 corps coordinated with the commandos of the 5th Military Region, after 30 minutes, Vietnamese Navy controlled the main battle area, facilitating the solution development process release of the other islands. Then, Vietnamese Navy continue control Sand Cay island (26 April), Namyit Island (27 April), Sin Cowe Island (28 April) and Spratly Island (29 April). At around the same time the Chinese Navy took over control of the Paracel Islands from the South Vietnamese Navy. These islands are also claimed by Vietnam, however they have no current presence there.
Prior to 1975, the North Vietnamese Navy operated fewer than forty patrol boats along with the coastal junk force. With the collapse of the Republic of Vietnam on 30 April 1975, the Vietnam People's Navy was expanded with ships from the defunct South Vietnamese Navy. Captured vessels included two patrol frigates, over one hundred patrol craft, and about fifty amphibious warfare ships. In the late 1970s the naval infantry (or marines) was formed to be stationed on the areas claimed by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the Spratly Islands. The naval infantry is equipped with PT-76 light tanks, BTR-60 personnel carriers and naval infantrymen are armed with AK-74 rifle, AKM-47 assault rifles, Makarov PM pistol (Officers), and PKM machinegun infantry weapons, and more.
In 1988, Vietnam People's Navy fought against the Chinese Navy at Johnson Reef of sovereignty of the Spratly Islands, causing the losses to the Vietnamese of several transport ships and up to 64 deaths. The battle was won by the Chinese Navy who outgunned and outnumbered them, using a fleet of frigates against Vietnamese lightly armed transport ships. This prompted the Vietnamese Navy to modernize its naval weapons and its overall naval capabilities.
Today, the Vietnam People's Navy is responsible for protecting the nation's sovereignty and economic activities at sea, and to repulse unauthorized foreign vessels intruding into Vietnamese waters. In general, Vietnam's policy has considered the modernization of the Navy a priority task in the overall military modernization plan. The Vietnam People's Navy and the Vietnam People's Air Force are the branches with the fatest modernization rates, constantly upgrading weapons, ammunition and combat capacity, the ability to master the equipment. As stated on 5 August 2011 by Minister of Defense Phùng Quang Thanh: "The direction of building up the armed forces is one to follow the revolutionary spirit, regularization and effectiveness and gradual modernization. Within this context, the Navy, the Air Force, the Signal Corps and Electronic Warfare will proceed directly into modernization to protect the country".
- Frigates and Corvettes: Laid down two Gepard-class frigate in 2011 by Zelenodolsk shipyard-Russia, named HQ-011 Dinh Tien Hoang and HQ-012 Lý Thái Tổ; and two more order. Contract with Schelde Naval Shipbuilding-Netherlands to built two Sigma-class corvette. Especially, Vietnam People's Navy has built itself six Tarantul-class corvette (Molniya class) with Russia supervision; besides, Vietnam People's Navy has designed and built the first warship names TT-400TP gunboat.
- Submarines: Vietnam deployed the first submarine flotilla named Flotilla 182 on 1 June 1982. This flotilla was trained in Cam Ranh Bay under guidance of Soviet submarine officers and used North Korea's Yugo-class submarine. In April 2011, Vietnam has ordered six Kilo-class submarine, worth about 1.8 billion dollars, the contract is said to occupy the entire defense budget of Vietnam in 2009. With six submarines, the first to be delivered in 2012 and the last one to be delivered by 2016, Vietnam will own the largest and most modern submarines team in Southeast Asia.
- offshore patrol vessel : During recent visit of Vietnamese Prime MinisterNguyen Tan Dung to India it was decided that India will supply 4 naval vessel to Vietnam, India will also quickly operationalise a $100 million Line of Credit which will allow Vietnam to purchase new vessels from India most probably Vietnam will purchase Saryu-class patrol vessel made in Goa Shipyard Limited
- Naval Air Force: Vietnam People's Navy prepared to build Naval Air Force to increase the capacity of coastal defense. On 27 February 2010, the General Staff (Vietnam People's Army) decides to build and make regular member the 954th Naval Air Force Regiment of Vietnamese Navy. Vietnam has purchased three CASA C-212 Aviocar aircraft Series 400 professional beach patrol and tracking. The aircraft equipped with radar MSS 6000 and Naval Air Force will use for general patrol purposes. Vietnamese Navy received two Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma to offshore patrol and search and rescue missions. Viking Air Company of Canada has contracted to sell to Vietnam six Seaplane DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 from 2012 to 2014. And 7 Kamov Ka-27 helicopters will be transferred to naval air force.
- P-5 Pyatyorka/Shaddock anti-ships missile, range upgraded to 550 km, in fact, Vietnam was the only customer that USSR export this missile system. Russia has delivered two K-300P Bastion-P coastal defense system to Vietnam. The Bastion system uses the P-800 Oniks/Yakhont supersonic anti-ship missile, primarily used to attack targets on land and sea, attack range is 300 km, can be used to protect a coastline of over 600 km. During a recent visit of Vietnamese Prime MinisterNguyen Tan Dung to India, the current government of India headed by prime minister Narendra Modi shown willingness to sell to sell Vietnam BrahMos supersonic cruise missile developed by Joint venture company of Russia-India BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited, and Vietnam will become the first military in the world imports Brahmos defense missile,brahmos has similar capabilities of K-300P Bastion-P which Vietnam currently operates, if compared with other types of missiles, BrahMos missile has the advantages of speed faster 3 times and respond shorter time span of 3-4 times. The Vietnamese are now starting to locally produce the anti ship missile Kh-35 Uran-E after received 33 missiles in 2010.
Ships of the Vietnamese Navy are typically preceded with HQ (an abbreviation of the Vietnamese words: Hải Quân, meaning Navy).
|Submarines (2 in Service)|
|Improved Kilo class||Russia||Submarine||2||(4) more on order/under construction||HQ-182 Hà Nội
HQ-183 Hồ Chí Minh City
HQ-184 Hải Phòng
HQ-185 Đà Nẵng
HQ-186 Khánh Hòa
HQ-187 Bà Rịa–Vũng Tàu
|Frigates (7 in Service)|
|Gepard 3.9 class||Russia||Frigate||2||(2) more on order||HQ-011 Đinh Tiên Hoàng
HQ-012 Lý Thái Tổ
|Sigma class corvette||Netherlands||Frigate||-||(2) on order/under construction. The Contract is confirmed by Damen Schelde company|
|Petya class||USSR||Frigate||5||active duty. 3 are ASW and 2 were converted to gunboats||HQ-09
|Corvettes (9 in Service)|
|Tarantul-I class|| Russia
Almaz Shipbuilding Company
|Molniya class|| Russia
|Corvette||4 ||(4) more under construction||HQ-375
|ASW Corvette||1||active duty||HQ-381|
|Patrol vessels (23 in Service)|
|Osa class||USSR||Missile boat||8||active duty||HQ-354, HQ-355, HQ-356, HQ-357, HQ-358, HQ-359, HQ-360, HQ-361|
|Svetlyak class||Russia||Patrol||6||active duty||HQ-261
|Turya class||USSR||Patrol||5||active duty||HQ-331
|TT-400TP class||Vietnam||Patrol||4||active duty (2) more on order/under construction||HQ-272
|Minesweepers (8 in Service)|
|Sonya class||USSR||minesweeper||4||active duty||HQ-861
|Yurka class||USSR||minesweeper||2||active duty||HQ-851
|Yevgenya class||USSR||minesweeper||2||active duty|
|Transport/Logistics support ship (11 in Service)|
|HSV-6613 class|| Netherlands
|Ocean surveillance||1||active duty||HQ-888 Trần Đại Nghĩa|
Logistics support ship
|2||active duty||HQ-571 Trường Sa
HQ-561 Khánh Hòa (Hospital ship)
|Trường Sa class||Vietnam||Transport/
Logistics support ship
|7||active duty||Trường Sa 04, Trường Sa 08, Trường Sa 14, Trường Sa 19, Trường Sa 20, Trường Sa 21, Trường Sa 22|
|Amphibious warfare (6 in Service)|
|LST-542 class||United States||Amphibious warfare||1||active duty||HQ-501|
|Polnochny class||USSR/ Poland||Amphibious warfare||3||active duty||HQ-511
|HQ-521 class||Vietnam||Amphibious warfare||2||active duty||HQ-521
|Aircraft (12 in Service)|
|DHC-6 Twin Otter|| Canada
|Kamov Ka-28|| USSR
|ASW Helicopter||4||active duty||to serve in frigates and patrol around Spratly Islands|
|Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma|| France
|Magic Eye 01|| Vietnam
|Anti-ship missile/Coastal Defense Missile|
|Russia||Coastal defense||10 launcher/
|2 K-300P Bastion-P systems in active||finished negotiation, technological transferring has already started|
|USSR||Coastal defense||active duty||already self-produced by Vietnam|
|20||active duty/equipped in Tarantul class ships||Replacing by Kh-35|
|Anti-ship missile||103 missiles
300 more on order
|active duty/equipped in Molniya and Gepard class ships||already self-produced by Vietnam|
Novator Design Bureau
|Anti-ship missile||10 missiles (2012)
40 on order
|equipped in Kilo submarines|
|Anti-ship missile||equipped in Sigma class corvette|
- Vietnam 10 (+25) HQ-56 class (Stolkraft; 22.5 meter) PB with 1x20mm
- Vietnam 5 HQ-37 class
- USSR 15 Zhuk class patrol boats (Project 1400M)
- USSR 1 Sorum class logistics tug (Project 745) ATA
- USSR 1 Voda (MTV-6/Project 561) AWT
- USSR 5 Nyrat-2 (Project 376U) diving tenders (YDT)
- Vietnam 5 floating drydocks (YFDL)
- USSR 5 PO-2 (Project 376) YFL
- United States 5 ex-US 55-meter harbor tankers (YO) - likely ex-USN YOG-5 Class Gasoline Oiler/Barge
- United States 5 Chaolocco tugs (YTM)
- United States 10 (estimated) harbor tubs (YTL) - likely ex-USN c. 1944-45 and transferred to Republic of Vietnam Navy 1969-1972
- USSR AK-74 Standard Issue Assault rifle.
- USSR AKM-47 Standard Issue Assault Rifle being supplemented by AK-74.
- USSR PKM machinegun
- USSR Makarov PM Standard issue pistol for all Vietnamese Military services.
- Israel IMI Tavor TAR-21 Marines and Special Forces Only.
- Israel Uzi Submachinegun Marines and Special Forces Only.
- Israel IMI Negev Light Machine Gun Marines and Special Forces Only.
The current total manpower of the navy is around 50,000 officers and enlisted personnel including naval infantry [i.e. marines] and other specialised units.
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