Vietnam has become the second Asia-Pacific nation, it would appear, to embark on the indigenous production of a missile based on the Russian Zvezda-Strela 3M24 Uran (SS-N-25 Switchblade). The first is North Korea, which has previously shown footage of a missile that closely resembles the Russian medium-range anti-ship weapon.
Unlike Pyongyang, however, Hanoi has been at least slightly more forthcoming as to the nature of its own programme. The Vietnamese variant of the missile is designated the KCT 15 and is the result of technology transfer from Russia. Whether this represents a full production capacity, or licensed final assembly, or something in between, has yet to become clear. Vietnam and Russia began to discuss local ‘manufacture’ of the 3M24 in 2011–12. Zvezda-Strela, the design house behind the 3M24, is part of Russia’s Tactical Missiles Corp.
The initial acquisition of the 3M24 from Russia was aimed at improving the anti-surface warfare capacity of the Vietnam People’s Navy. Regional maritime tensions are propelling naval weapons-programme acquisitions. Vietnamese manufacture of its version of the 3M24 will help develop local industry and likely simplify logistics support. The unit cost of a round will probably be reduced.
How North Korea acquired the technology to support its programme, possibly known as the KN-01, has yet to be ascertained. (end of excerpt)
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