HANOI — A Canadian company says it has become the first Western firm to build fixed-wing aircraft for the military in communist Vietnam, which is seeking to upgrade its maritime defences.
Viking Air of Victoria, British Columbia, said it has finalised with the Vietnamese navy a purchase agreement for six amphibious DHC-6 Twin Otter Series 400 aircraft, in a statement obtained by AFP on Wednesday.
Vietnam late last month approved an 8.5-billion-dollar economic and defence development plan for a string of islands along its resource-rich coastline, as a broader maritime sovereignty dispute simmers with China.
In December Vietnam and Russia—a longtime supplier of military equipment to Hanoi, signed a major arms deal reported to involve the purchase of six submarines.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung confirmed only that the Russian deal included submarines along with aircraft and “military equipment”.
Russian media have reported that the aircraft order involved 12 Sukhoi Su-30MK2 warplanes. They are among the world’s most advanced and could provide air cover for the surface fleet, analysts said.