Vietnamese navy sets up new air fleet with modern copters

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Vietnam People's Navy on Sunday announced the launch of two long-range EC-225 helicopters and the EC-225 air fleet at a ceremony held at Ba Ria Vung Tau Province's Vung Tau Airport.

The navy is showcasing its two modern helicopters, which will bear the responsibility of protecting the country's sovereignty over the sea, islands, continent shelf and exclusive economic zone, said defense deputy minister Nguyen Van Hien, Vietnam People's Navy Commander, at the event.

The EC-225 helicopter was designed from the outset with search and rescue missions in mind.

It has a twin-engine with an entirely redesigned five-blade rotor system and a maximum take-off weight of 11 metric tons, according to Eurocopter web site.

The helicopter's extremely low vibration levels are unparalleled in the industry. That will make it possible to fly long missions without tiring out flight crews and enabling it to rescue 10 people within a range of 300 nautical miles.

The EC-225 air fleet was established under a decision by the Navy Commander on November 4.

In August, Commander Hien has said the Vietnamese navy was upgrading its capacity with more advanced equipment and devices with peaceful intentions to protect the country's sovereignty.

"Vietnam is a country with a long coast and sea economy, which accounts for a major proportion of the national economy. Therefore, developing the Navy to protect the nation's sovereignty and interests at sea, and securing a peaceful and stable environment for economic development, are some of the top priorities of the Party, the government, and the Vietnam People's Army," he said.

"The Navy never ceases to upgrade its fighting capacity so it can protect the sovereignty, jurisdiction and interests in Vietnam's waters. At the same time, it is willing to cooperate with other army forces to defeat every invasion at sea," he added.

On August 22, the Vietnamese navy received the Gepard 3.9 class frigate -- a Russian-built guided missile frigate that is one of the most advanced in Southeast Asia.

The 102-meter long vessel, named after King Ly Thai To (974-1028), was the second Gepard 3.9 class frigate that Vietnam ordered from Rosoboronexport -- the sole state intermediary agency for Russia's exports/imports of defense-related and dual use products, technologies and services.

The first vessel, named after King Dinh Tien Hoang (924-979), was delivered to the country in March.

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