VAN NIEH, Vietnam — The new air defence system for Vietnam, expected to be ready within six months, is designed to keep out North Korean missiles and to stop any attack from a nearby South Korean port.
The system is a hybrid of U.S.-manufactured air-defense systems like the Patriot and Patriot Block IV, Vietnam’s top defense official said Monday.
The Vietnamese government has invested about $200 million on the system.
In addition to protecting the country from North Korea, the system also has a number of other functions, including helping Vietnam maintain peace and stability in the South China Sea.
“Vietnam is a strategic ally of the United States and has a large naval base, which we have a right to use,” Defence Minister Pham Van Duyne said.
“We are also a small island nation with the ability to defend ourselves.”
The new air-defence system was developed under a U.N.-sponsored program to counter North Korea’s weapons development.
Vietnamese officials say they expect the new system to be operational in 2019.