Vietnam may give up new purchases of the SPYDER short and medium range mobile air defense system developed by Rafael, TASS reported Thursday, citing a source close to Vietnam’s Defense Ministry.
The SPYDER is a low-level, quick-reaction surface-to-air missile system capable of engaging aircraft, helicopters, unmanned air vehicles, drones, and precision-guided munitions. The system sits on a truck, and can fire Python-5 and Derby surface-to-air missiles.
In 2015, Vietnam chose the SPYDER missile system as its new short-range air defense missile system. First deliveries of the six systems as well as 250 missiles ordered were made in July 2016.
The Vietnamese source told TASS that “the defense ministry of Vietnam is against purchasing a new batch of Israeli SPYDER short-range systems. Specifically, according to military specialists, these systems operate poorly in tropical conditions and regularly break down.”
The source noted that “the Israeli systems have been test-fired in Vietnam since the beginning of this year and in most cases these firings failed.”
Eventually, though, the TASS story gets to the gist of the story, citing the Vietnamese source as complaining that “the SPYDER weapons are also incompatible with the earlier supplied Russian surface-to-air missile systems, which lowers the efficiency of Vietnam’s united air defense.”
Russia has intensified its military relationship with Vietnam, with Vietnam’s Defense Minister Ngo Xuan Lich paying a visit to Russia in April, which followed a January visit of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu to Vietnam, where he met with Ngo Xuan Lich, President Tran Dai Quang, and Communist Party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong.
In September, Vietnam placed orders for Russian weapons and military services worth more than $1 billion.