Vietnam People's Navy

The Vietnam People's Navy (Vietnamese: Hải quân nhân dân Việt Nam), commonly known as the Vietnamese navy or the Vietnamese People's Navy, is the naval branch of the Vietnam People's Army and is responsible for the protection of the country's national waters, islands, and interests of the maritime economy, as well as for the co-ordination of maritime police, customs service and the border defence force.

Vietnam People's Navy
Hải quân Nhân dân Việt Nam
Vietnam People's Navy emblem
Active1955 – present
Country Vietnam
BranchMain branches:
  • Surface Troops
  • VPN Marine Corps
  • Naval Aviation
  • Coastal Defence
  • Submarine Forces
Size50,000 officers and sailors
91 ships (excluding auxiliaries)
Part of Vietnam People's Army
HeadquartersHai Phong, Vietnam
Motto(s)Đảo là nhà, Biển cả là quê hương (Island is Home, Ocean is Fatherland)
Colour         Purple, White
MarchSurfing to the sea
Anniversaries7 May 1955
Fleet6 Submarine
9 Frigate
14 Corvette
54 Patrol vessel
6 Amphibious warfare ship
8 Minesweeper
1 Training vessel
11 Auxiliaries
EngagementsWorld War II
Vietnam War
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Johnson South Reef Skirmish
MT Zafirah hijacking
DecorationsVietnam Hero ribbon.png Vietnam Hero of Labor ribbon.png Vietnam Gold Star ribbon.png Vietnam Hochiminh Order ribbon.png Vietnam Independence Order ribbon.png Vietnam Military Exploit Order ribbon.png Vietnam Labor Order ribbon.png Vietnam Feat Order ribbon.png Vietnam Fatherland Defense Order ribbon.png
Commander-in-ChiefNguyễn Phú Trọng
Chief of NavyVice Admiral Phạm Hoài Nam
Political CommissarVice Admiral Phạm Văn Vững
Chief of StaffVice Admiral Nguyễn Trọng Bình
Naval ensign
Ensign of Vietnam People's Navy
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam
Anchor Navy
AwardsHero of the People's Armed ForcesHero of Labor (Vietnam)Gold Star Order (Vietnam)Gold Star Order (Vietnam)Ho Chi Minh OrderOrder of IndependenceMilitary Exploit OrderLabor OrderFeat OrderFatherland Defense Order
Aircraft flown
PatrolC-212, DHC-6, EC225


Vietnam War

North Vietnamese P-4 under fire from USS Maddox (2 August 1964)
A North Vietnamese P-4 engaging USS Maddox (DD-731) in Gulf of Tonkin incident 1964

On 19 July 1946, Acting President of Democratic Republic of Vietnam Huỳnh Thúc Kháng signed into law a decree establishing the modern Vietnamese navy. Then, on 10 September of that year, General Võ Nguyên Giáp started to build a flotilla as the core of the new navy. On 8 March 1949, Vietnam established the Department of Naval Research under the General Staff. This department has performed both research and training to prepare for combat missions.

Following the Geneva Conference in 1954, the Democratic Republic of Vietnam went about creating its own naval forces. On 7 May 1955 the Vietnam People's Navy was created with the establishment of the General Directorate of Coastal Defence, it formed the basis for the Navy Operational Command (based on the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence decree No. 284/ND signed by General Võ Nguyên Giáp to established Naval Research Board, under the General Staff, on 8 March 1949). The primary mission of the Navy was to patrol the coastal areas and the inland waterways.

Throughout the Vietnam War the role played by the Vietnam People's Navy (or North Vietnamese Navy) was largely unknown to the public. However, on 2 August 1964, three North Vietnamese Swatow-class patrol boats attacked the destroyer USS Maddox in what became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Incident. The second attack, which the United States claimed to have occurred on 4 August, was dismissed by the North Vietnamese as a fabrication.

The North Vietnamese, however, had maintained their own version of the events which took place. According to official VPN accounts Maddox penetrated North Vietnamese waters on 31 July 1964, and provoked a battle with the North Vietnamese. In response to American provocation, three 123K-class torpedo boats from the 135th Torpedo Boat Battalion were dispatched to intercept the American destroyer. The resulting clash became known as the 'Battle of Thanh Hóa' in which North Vietnamese "torpedo boats succeeded in driving the Maddox out of Vietnam's territorial waters, shooting down a U.S. aircraft and damaging another".

Apart from patrolling territorial waters, the Navy also had the mission of transporting military supplies to support the Vietnam People's Army and their NLF ally during the Vietnam War. On 31 October 1961, a sea route version of the Ho Chi Minh trail was established by the North Vietnam Navy, with the 759th Transport Unit responsible for carrying military supplies and other goods for the Communist ground forces in South Vietnam. To avoid detection by the South Vietnamese and U.S navies, North Vietnamese transport ships were often disguised as fishing trawlers. On 16 February 1965, a 100-ton North Vietnamese trawler from the Transportation Group 125 was discovered at Vung Ro Bay. This led to the creation of Operation Market Time by the US Navy to intercept disguised enemy ships.

On 19 April 1972, the North Vietnamese Navy and Air Force participated in the Battle of Đồng Hới off the coast of North Vietnam. During this battle it was believed that the U.S Navy destroyed a Soviet-made cruise missile for the first time. The destroyer USS Higbee was damaged after an VPAF MiG-17 dropped a 250 lb (110 kg) bomb, destroying a 5-inch (127 mm) aft gun mount.

In the years following the complete withdrawal of U.S and other allied forces, the North Vietnamese went back on the offensive. As part of the Ho Chi Minh Campaign, the North Vietnamese Navy increased the transportation of military supplies, food and uniform to the Communist forces in the South. When the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) occupied the northern provinces of South Vietnam in 1975, captured South Vietnamese vessels were pressed into service with the Vietnam People's Navy. In April 1975, ex-South Vietnamese Navy vessels carried North Vietnamese troops to capture the Spratly Islands. Opening battle in the island Southwest Cay (Vietnamese: Song Tử tây) on 4 April 1975, amphibious raid by sea of the Naval Marine corps number 1 (precursor of the 126th Brigade Naval Marine corps) and three vessels of the 125 corps coordinated with the commandos of the 5th Military Region, after 30 minutes, Vietnamese Navy controlled the main battle area, facilitating the solution development process release of the other islands.[1] Then, Vietnamese Navy continue control Sand Cay island (26 April), Namyit Island (27 April), Sin Cowe Island (28 April) and Spratly Island (29 April).[2] At around the same time the Chinese Navy took over control of the Paracel Islands from the South Vietnamese Navy. These islands are also claimed by Vietnam, however they have no current presence there.

Quân đội duyệt binh ở Trường Sa
VPN's Naval Infantry in Spratly Islands

Prior to 1975, the North Vietnamese Navy operated fewer than forty patrol boats along with the coastal junk force. With the collapse of the Republic of Vietnam on 30 April 1975, the Vietnam People's Navy was expanded with ships from the defunct South Vietnamese Navy. Captured vessels included two patrol frigates, over one hundred patrol craft, and about fifty amphibious warfare ships.

In the late 1970s the naval infantry (or marines) was formed to be stationed on the areas claimed by the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the Spratly Islands. The naval infantry is equipped with PT-76 light tanks, BTR-60 personnel carriers and naval infantrymen are armed with AK-74 rifle, AKM-47 assault rifles, Makarov PM pistol (Officers), and PKM machinegun infantry weapons, and more.

In 1988, Vietnam People's Navy fought against the Chinese Navy at Johnson Reef of sovereignty of the Spratly Islands, causing the losses to the Vietnamese of several transport ships and up to 64 deaths. The battle was won by the Chinese Navy who outgunned and outnumbered them, using a fleet of frigates against Vietnamese lightly armed transport ships. This prompted the Vietnamese Navy to modernise its naval weapons and its overall naval capabilities.

Organisational structure

Vietnam Naval Regions
VPN's Naval regions

Organisational levels of Vietnam People's Navy, from highest to lowest are:

  • President
  • Minister of Defence
  • High Command of Vietnam People's Navy (Bộ Tư lệnh Hải quân)
  • Naval Fleet (Hạm đội Hải quân)
  • Naval Region (Vùng Hải quân)
  • Naval Brigade/Naval Regiment (Lữ đoàn/Trung đoàn Hải quân)
  • Naval Battalion (Hải đoàn)
  • Naval Group (Hải đội)

Naval Regions

On 26 October 1975, the Ministry of Defence issued Decision No.141/QD-QP which established five Coastal Areas of Naval Command and jurisdiction provisions of the five regions. In 1978, they were renamed as the following naval regions:

  • 1st Regional Command (A Regional Command): Gulf of Tonkin, north coast from Quảng Ninh to Hà Tĩnh and the islands in Gulf of Tonkin. Command Headquarters: Hai Phong.
    • Commander: Rear Admiral Phạm Văn Điển
    • Political Commissar: Rear Admiral Phạm Văn Vững
  • 2nd Regional Command (B Regional Command): South China Sea and south coast from Bình Thuận to Bạc Liêu, southern continental shelf, including the key areas are economic science service areas (called are DK1, DK2). Command Headquarters: Nhơn Trạch, Đồng Nai.
    • Commander: Rear Admiral Phạm Khắc Lượng
    • Political Commissar: Rear Admiral Nguyễn Phong Cảnh
  • 3rd Regional Command (C Regional Command): north central coast, from Quảng Bình to Bình Định, including the islands of Cồn Cỏ, Lý Sơn,...and Paracel Islands. Command Headquarters: Da Nang.
    • Commander: Rear Admiral Đỗ Quốc Việt
    • Political Commissar: Rear Admiral Nguyễn Tiến Dũng
  • 4th Regional Command (D Regional Command): South China Sea, south central coast including Spratly Islands, Phú Quý island and the south central coast, from Phú Yên to Bình Thuận. Headquarters Command: Cam Ranh Bay military port, Khánh Hòa Province.
    • Commander: Rear Admiral Phạm Văn Hoành
    • Political Commissar: Rear Admiral Phạm Thanh Hóa
  • 5th Regional Command (E Regional Command): South China Sea and coast in Gulf of Thailand from Cà Mau to Kiên Giang. Command Headquarters: Phú Quốc, Kiên Giang.
    • Commander: Rear Admiral Nguyễn Duy Tỷ
    • Political Commissar: Rear Admiral Ngô Văn Phát

Service branches

Surface Ships Naval Commando Marine Corps. Naval Aviation Coastal Defence Missiles Submarines
Anchor Navy
Vietnam Infantry symbol
Navy Marine anchor
Air Force wings
Missile Force
Anchor Navy

Ranks in Vietnam People's Navy

Vietnam People's Army
Emblem VPA
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam
Ministry of Defence
Vietnam People's Army General Staff insignia.jpgGeneral Staff
Vietnam People's Army insignia.png Ground Force
Vietnam People's Air Force insignia.png Air Force
Vietnam People's Navy insignia.png Navy
Vietnam Border Defense Force insignia.jpg Border Guard
Vietnam Marine Police insignia.jpg Coast Guard
Ranks of the Vietnamese Military
Ground Force ranks and insignia
Air Force ranks and insignia
Navy ranks and insignia
Border Guard ranks and insignia
Coast Guard ranks and insignia
History of the Vietnamese Military
History of Vietnamese military ranks
Military history of Vietnam

The Vietnam People's Navy system does not feature the rank of Fleet Admiral. Vietnam People's Navy ranks are divided into four categories: Commissioned Officer, Non-commissioned Officer, and Soldiers/Seamen. Officer ranks use the executive curl on the sleeves of their service and full dress blue uniforms, similar to those used in various navies worldwide.

Flag Officers Senior Officers Junior Officers
Shoulder insignia Vietnam People's Navy Admiral.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Vice Admiral.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Rear Admiral.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Commodorel.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Senior Commander.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Commander.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Lieutenant Commander.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Senior Lieutenant.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Lieutenant.jpg Vietnam People's Navy SubLieutenant.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Ensign.jpg
Collar insignia Vietnam People's Navy general rank lapel.jpg Vietnam People's Navy general rank lapel.jpg Vietnam People's Navy general rank lapel.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png Vietnam People's Navy Commander rank lapel.png
Sleeve insignia
Đô đốc Phó Đô đốc Chuẩn Đô đốc Đại tá Thượng tá Trung tá Thiếu tá Đại úy Thượng úy Trung úy Thiếu úy
Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lt.Commander Senior Lieutenant Lieutenant Sub-lieutenant Ensign
Naval cadet NCOs Seamen
Vietnam People's Navy student officer.jpg Vietnam People's Navy Sergeant major.png Vietnam People's Navy Sergeant.png Vietnam People's Navy Corporal.png Vietnam People's Navy private first class.png Vietnam People's Navy Private second class.png
Học viên Sĩ quan Thượng sĩ Trung sĩ Hạ sĩ Binh nhất Binh nhì
Midshipman Master Chief Petty Officer Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer First Class Leading Seaman Seaman

Naval Academy

Vietnam Naval Academy logo
Vietnam Naval Academy's symbol

The Vietnamese naval academy, with its headquarters in Nha Trang, is the main institute for training naval commanding officers for the divisional level, and commanding staffs at tactical/campaign levels. Students include both undergraduates and postgraduates serving in the military.

The forerunner of the Vietnam Naval Academy, the Coastal Training School, was established on 26 April 1955 by the General Staff. The school has changed name several times, such as the Naval Training School in 1959, the Naval School of Vietnam in 1961, the Naval Officers School in 1967, and the School of Naval Engineering Command in 1980. The school renamed itself the Naval Academy in 1993.

After 55 years of development, combat and growth, the academy has trained thousands of officers and technical staff for major specialised fields such as vessel control, mining and anti-mine operations, anti-submarine missiles, gunships, information, radar, sonar, coastal radar, shipyard work, the Coast Guard, and Border Defence Force.

In addition, the naval academy has trained officers for both the Royal Cambodian Navy and the Lao People's Navy.


The current total manpower of the navy is around 50,000 officers and enlisted personnel, including naval infantry and other specialised units.


Main article: List of equipment of the Vietnam People's Navy

See also


  1. ^ [1] Archived 30 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Kỳ 1 : Thần tốc giải phóng Trường Sa - Tiền Phong Online". Retrieved 21 May 2013.


External links

Giáp Văn Cương

Giáp Văn Cương (1921-1990) was an Admiral of the Vietnam People's Navy. He was born on September 13, 1921 in Bắc Giang Province, Vietnam.

Komar-class missile boat

The Soviet Project 183R class, more commonly known as Komar (NATO reporting name, meaning mosquito), is a class of missile boats, the first of its kind, built in the 1950s and 1960s. Notably, they were the first to sink another ship with anti-ship missiles in 1967.

List of equipment of the Vietnam People's Navy

Since the Vietnam War, most of Vietnamese vessels were supplied by the Soviet Union and presently by Russia, while hundreds more were integrated into the navy after it was left over from South Vietnam although many have been decommissioned due to lack of parts. However, due to rising tensions in the South China Sea, many nearby nations such as Japan have shown support in developing Vietnam's Navy and Coast Guard.The Vietnam People's Navy is the branch of the Vietnam People's Army with the fastest modernisation as the Vietnamese government put it as a main priority, with constant upgradation of its weapons, ammunition and combat capability.

Pauk-class corvette

The Pauk class is the NATO reporting name for a class of small patrol corvettes built for the Soviet Navy and export customers between 1977 and 1989. The Russian designation is Project 1241.2 Molniya-2. These ships are designed for coastal patrol and inshore anti-submarine warfare. The design is the patrol version of the Tarantul class which is designated Project 1241.1, but is slightly longer and has diesel engines. The ships are fitted with a dipping sonar which is also used in Soviet helicopters.

Sonya-class minesweeper

The Sonya class are a group of minesweepers built for the Soviet Navy and Soviet allies between 1971 and 1991. The Soviet designation is Project 1265 Yakhont.

Tarantul-class corvette

The Project 1241 are a class of Soviet missile corvettes. They have the NATO reporting name Tarantul (not to be confused with the Stenka-class patrol boat, whose official Soviet name is also "Tarantul"). These ships were designed to replace the Project 205 Tsunami (NATO: "Osa") missile boats.

Type 010 minesweeper

The Type 010 class minesweeper is the Chinese versions of the Russian Soviet T-43 class oceangoing minesweeper.

Type 082 mine countermeasure vessel

The Type 082 class minesweeper is a Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy ship class. It is also known as Wosao class in the west, but the Chinese name is Wusao, short for armed (Wu-zhuang, 武裝) mine sweeping boat (Sao-lei-ting, 掃雷).

USS Absecon (AVP-23)

The second USS Absecon (AVP-23) was a United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender in commission from 1943 to 1947, converted during construction to serve as a catapult training ship during World War II. The ship was in commission in the United States Coast Guard as the cutter USCGC Absecon (WAVP-374), later WHEC-374, from 1949 to 1972. Transferred to South Vietnam in 1972, she served in the Republic of Vietnam Navy as the frigate RVNS Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-15) until she was captured by North Vietnam at the conclusion of the Vietnam War in 1975. After that, she served in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's Vietnam People's Navy as PRVSN Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-01).

USS Bulloch County (LST-509)

USS Bulloch County (LST-509) was an LST-491-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Named for Bulloch County, Georgia, she was the only U.S. Naval vessel to bear the name.

LST-509 was laid down on 7 October 1943 at Jeffersonville, Indiana by the Jeffersonville Boat & Machine Company; launched on 23 November 1943; sponsored by Lieutenant (j.g.) Dorothy L. Nims, USCG(W); and commissioned on 20 January 1944 with Lieutenant J. B. Malcom, USNR, in command.

During World War II, LST-509 was assigned to the European Theater and participated in the Invasion of Normandy in June, 1944. Following the war, LST-509 returned to the United States and was redesignated USS Bulloch County (LST-509) on 1 July 1955.

She was recommissioned in 1966 and served in the Vietnam War until she was transferred to the Republic of Vietnam Navy in April 1970.

She was used primarily for provisioning forward coastal and river US Marine bases such as Tân Mỹ Base (now Thuan An) and Cửa Việt Base located in I Corps and bases further south such as Vung Tau, Cam Ranh Bay and Nha Trang.

Other duties included coastal picket and resupply duty during Operation Market Time in which she resupplied and provided off-patrol berthing for Patrol Craft Fast crews interdicting Viet Cong communication and supply routes.

The starboard screw and rudder were once damaged by a floating mine in the Cua Viet River. She continued operations on one screw until another could be fitted at Da Nang. She suffered serious enough storm damage during a typhoon during a voyage to Okinawa in 1969, to require emergency repairs while beached and more complete repairs in a graving dock at Sasebo, Japan.

On 8 April 1970, the ship was decommissioned and leased to the Republic of Vietnam under the Security Assistance Program for service as Qui Nhon (HQ-504). After 1975, she served in the Vietnam People's Navy with new registration as HQ-505.

In 1988 she was heavily damaged in the Johnson South Reef Skirmish by the Chinese frigate Yingtan. The Vietnam People's Navy, in an effort to save her, tried to bring her to Cam Ranh Bay for repair but she sank south of Great Discovery Reef in the Spratly Islands area. The ship and her crew were granted the title of Hero of the People's Armed Forces.

LST-509 earned one battle star for World War II service.

USS Coconino County (LST-603)

USS Coconino County (LST-603), originally USS LST-603, was a United States Navy LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II and in commission from 1944 to 1955 and from 1966 to 1969. Named after Coconino County, Arizona, she was the only U.S. Navy vessel to bear the name.

USS Forster (DE-334)

USS Forster (DE-334) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She was launched on 13 November 1943 by Consolidated Steel Corporation, Orange, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. E. W. Forster, widow of Machinist Edward W. Forster, who was killed in action during the Battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942 with the sinking of USS Vincennes. Forster was commissioned 25 January 1944 and served as an escort in the Atlantic and Mediterranean during World War II. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve at Green Cove Springs, Florida on 15 June 1946.

USS Marion County (LST-975)

USS Marion County (LST-975) was an LST-542-class tank landing ship built for the United States Navy during World War II. Like many of her class, she was not named and is properly referred to by her hull designation. She was later named after counties in seventeen U. states, she was the only US Naval vessel to bear the name.

USS Prowess (AM-280)

USS Prowess (AM-280) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II. At war's end she was placed in reserve. In the mid-1960s, she was converted into a training ship for U.S. Naval Reserve personnel. She was transferred to South Vietnam in June 1970 as RVNS Ha Hoi (HQ-13) in the Republic of Vietnam Navy. In 1975, Ha Hoi was seized by North Vietnamese forces and incorporated into the Vietnamese People's Navy. She remained in service until 1998, when she was converted into a training ship. She has since been scrapped.

USS Sentry (AM-299)

USS Sentry (AM-299) was an Admirable-class minesweeper built for the United States Navy during World War II. She served in the Pacific Ocean and was awarded six battle stars, a Navy Unit Commendation, and a Presidential Unit Citation. She was decommissioned and placed in reserve in 1946. In August 1962, the former Sentry was transferred to South Vietnam as RVNS Ky Hoa (HQ-09) in the Republic of Vietnam Navy. Her fate after 1962 is unreported in secondary sources.

Vietnamese frigate Ly Thai To (HQ-012)

HQ-012 Ly Thai To is a Gepard-class frigate (Gepard 3.9 type) in the Vietnam People's Navy. She was built by the Zelenodolsk shipyard in Russia under signed contract to the Vietnamese Navy.Ly Thai To is designed to perform searches, track and destroy floating target ships, air defense, anti-submarine (limited), escort, and patrol territorial waters and special areas with economic rights. Ly Thai To can enter combat independently or in squadrons, and is equipped with stealth technology, to present a minimum presence on enemy radar screens.

Vietnam and Russia signed a contract worth USD $350 million to build two Gepard-class frigates designed by the Institute ZPKB in Zelenodolsk.According to the manufacturer, Ly Thai To's interior has been modified to increase crew comfort, improved compared to Dinh Tien Hoang – the previous Gepard 3.9 in Vietnam People's Navy. She has more convenient maintenance and operation, improved seaworthiness, higher maneuverability, and is better able to handle a range of situations.Ly Thai To, launched on 16 March 2011, was named after Lý Thái Tổ, the Đại Việt Emperor and founder of the Lý Dynasty, who reigned from 1009 AD to 1028 AD.

Ly Thai To visited Indonesia from 12–15 November, Brunei from 19–21 November and the Philippines from 24–26 November 2014.

Vietnamese submarine Hồ Chí Minh City

Hồ Chí Minh City is a Kilo-class submarine of the Vietnam People's Navy. She is one of six Kilo-class submarines in service with Vietnam. In 2014 it had to sail though a frozen lake.

Yevgenya-class minesweeper

The Yevgenia class are a group of minesweepers built for the Soviet Navy and export customers between 1967 and 1980. The Soviet designation was Project 1258 Korund.

Yurka-class minesweeper

The Yurka class were a group of minesweepers built for the Soviet Navy and export customers between 1963 and 1970. The Soviet designation was Project 266 Rubin.

Military regions
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Vietnam People's Armed Forces
Sovereign states
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