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Thayer Vietnam Bares Scud Missile Force

Thayer Vietnam Bares Scud Missile Force

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Published by Carlyle Alan Thayer
A brief of Vietnam's release of photographs of Missile Brigade 490 and its armoury of Scud missiles.
A brief of Vietnam's release of photographs of Missile Brigade 490 and its armoury of Scud missiles.

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Carlyle Alan Thayer on Jul 09, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Background Briefing:Vietnam Bares Scud MissileForce: Missile Brigade 490Carlyle A. ThayerJuly 9, 2012
For several years there have been reports that Vietnam has acquired a number of Scud surface‐to‐surface missiles. For example,
The Military Balance 2012,
producedby the International Institute for Strategic Studies, listed the following under itsVietnam entry for missiles: “SSM Scud‐B/Scud‐C (reported).”In May Vietnam lifted theveil of secrecy on its Scudmissile force when themilitary journal,
Tap Chi Quoc Phong Toan Dan
 All People’s National Defence
)printed a single page of photos of Missile Brigade490 (see photo right andphotos below).The following month the Vietnamese‐language newspaper
Dat Viet 
(June 11,2012) released the same photograph as show pictured above right and identified themissile as the R‐17E/9K72 or SS‐1 Scud B missile. The newspaper also reported that
Thayer Consultancy
ABN # 65 648 097 123
the Institute of Technology, Air Defence‐Air Force, had successfully produced one of the key components for the liquid fuel used by Scud missiles.
Bao Dat Viet 
identifiedthe group as Unit B90 (see photo below).In the 1980s it was reportedthat the Soviet Union providedVietnam with a number of ScudB missiles (see text box). In1998‐99 Vietnam procured afurther supply of Scud Cmissiles from North Korea. TheU.S. National Air IntelliigenceCenter estimates that Vietnamhas “fewer than 50” Scud B missiles.Coincidently with these developments, the
United Daily News
reported on July 2,that China has set up a new missile brigade, the 827 Ballistic Missile Brigade, inShaoguan City, Guangdong province. Taiwanese new reports speculated that theMissile Brigade would be equipped with the Dongfeng DF‐21 D anti‐ship ballisticmissile and the Dongfeng 16, a newer longer‐range ballistic missile. The DF‐21 D has
n v
tên l
a Scud L
đoàn B90 hu
n lu
n chi
Strategic Forces
 Sometime, presumably in the 1980s, Vietnam took possession of a small quantity of Russian‐manufactured SS‐1 Scud B surface‐to‐surface missiles (with a range of 300 kmrange and a payload of 985 kg). Vietnam’s drive to modernize its military forces anddevelop a credible deterrent to the PLA led it into a series of agreements with North Korea.In May 1994, a Vietnamese military delegation visited Pyongyang for preliminarydiscussions on the possibility of North Korean arms sales to Vietnam. The following month,Defense Minister Doan Khue led a high‐ranking military delegation to Pyongyang for anofficial visit at the invitation of Marshal O Chin‐u, Minister of the DPRK’s Peoples ArmedForces. In November 1994, Vice Marshal Choe Kwang, a member of the Politburo of theKorean Workers’ Party and Acting Minister of Armed Forces and Chief of Staff of theKorean People’s Army, led a military delegation on a return visit as guest of DefenceMinister, Gen. Doan Khue. Immediately after the visit a diplomatic source in Beijingdisclosed that Vietnam and North Korea had ‘struck a deal on barter trade under whichNorth Korea supplies Vietnam with weapons parts and ammunition while the latter shipsrice to North Korea.’In December 1996, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Defense, General Nguyen Thoi Bung,visited North Korea and signed a defense deal worth U.S. $100 million. Payment was inbarter terms for Vietnamese rice. The sale of short‐range Scud ballistic missiles wasreportedly discussed at this time. In April 1999 it was reported that Vietnam had acquired aquantity of North Korean Scud C surface‐to‐surface missiles (SSMs). The Scud C can carry apayload of 770 kg over 550 km. In February 2009 it was reported that Hanoi andPyongyang were currently discussing North Korean assistance in upgrading Vietnam’s stockof Scud SSMs.
Source: Carlyle A. Thayer,
Vietnam People’s Army: Development and Modernization
. Armed ForcesLecture Paper Series Paper No. 4. Bandar Seri Begawan: Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies, 2009.

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