LONDON --- Vietnam confirmed through state-run news agencies on July 21 that it has ordered 64 of Russia's T-90S/SK main battle tanks. These include baseline tanks (the 'S' indicates export model and command variants (the 'K' indicator) with the estimated price tag for the acquisition placed at $250 million.
The order comes amidst growing focus placed on the country's air force and navy as Vietnam's security planners pay ever-increasing attention to China's actions in nearby waters.
The Vietnam People's Army operates a mix of Soviet-designed main battle tanks, most of which were acquired from different countries producing variants under licensed agreement such as Poland (T-72s) and China (T-59s). But besides the aforementioned T-72s the vast bulk of the Army's tank inventory is mothballed and obsolete.
The T-90S tanks are likely to be used as replacements for the aging T-55s, few of which remain operational.