Vietnam to conduct regular air patrols over archipelago

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An official from the Vietnamese air force said it will conduct regular air patrols over the Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago after the first such trip was completed successfully last week.

Senior lieutenant-colonel Ngo Vinh Phuc, chief of the 940 Air Force Regiment, made the statement after a team of four aircrafts, including two Su-27 fighter jets, were sent to the archipelago on June 15, returning from their patrol later that day.

"The regiment decided that after the first flight to Truong Sa, it will be our regular duty, and we are always ready for it once we receive orders," he said.

"With the flight, we want to reiterate once again that we will be always ready to protect the country's sacred sovereignty over seas and islands." 

The two-hour air patrol, which originated at the Phu Cat Airport in the central Vietnamese province of Binh Dinh, was the first of its kind for the regiment which was placed in charge of protecting Vietnam's air and sea in the central region early this year, according to Phuc.

In the past, many air patrols had been conducted over Truong Sa with Su-27 and Su-30 jets, but they were all operated by the Air Force Fighter Aircraft Division 370, which is based in southern Vietnam, he added.

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