Vietnam People's Navy

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Vietnam People's Navy
Hải quân Nhân dân Việt Nam
Vietnam People's Navy emblem.svg
Active1955 – present
CountryFlag of Vietnam.svg  Vietnam
BranchMain branches:
  • Surface Troops
  • VPN Marine Corps
  • Naval Aviation
  • Coastal Defence
  • Submarine Forces
Size50,000 officers and sailors
91 ships (excluding auxiliaries)
Part ofFlag of the People's Army of Vietnam.svg 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
Engagements World War II
Vietnam War
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Johnson South Reef Skirmish
MT Zafirah hijacking
Decorations Vietnam 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-Chief Nguyễn Phú Trọng
Chief of Navy Vice 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.svg
Flag Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam.svg
Emblem Anchor Navy.jpg
Awards Anhhunglucluongvutrang2.png Anhhunglaodong.png Gold Star Order.png Gold Star Order.png Hochiminh Order.png Independence Order.png Military Exploit Order.png Labor Order.png Feat Order.png Fatherland Defense Order.png
Aircraft flown
Attack Ka-27
Patrol C-212, DHC-6, EC225

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.

Vietnamese language official and national language of Vietnam

Vietnamese is an Austroasiatic language that originated in Vietnam, where it is the national and official language. It is the native language of the Vietnamese (Kinh) people, as well as a first or second language for the many ethnic minorities of Vietnam. As a result of Vietnamese emigration and cultural influence, Vietnamese speakers are found throughout the world, notably in East and Southeast Asia, North America, Australia and Western Europe. Vietnamese has also been officially recognized as a minority language in the Czech Republic.



Pre–Modern Period

Vietnam War

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

North Vietnam Former socialist republic in Southeast Asia

North Vietnam, officially the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), was a country in Southeast Asia from 1945 to 1975.

Huỳnh Thúc Kháng Vietnamese revolutionary

Huỳnh Thúc Kháng was a Vietnamese anti-colonialist and associate of Phan Chu Trinh.

Võ Nguyên Giáp North Vietnamese commander

Võ Nguyên Giáp was a general in the Vietnam People's Army and a politician. Võ Nguyên Giáp is considered one of the greatest military strategists of the 20th century. He first grew to prominence during World War II, where he served as the military leader of the Viet Minh resistance against the Japanese occupation of Vietnam. Giáp was a crucial military commander in two wars: the First Indochina War of 1946–1954, and the Vietnam War of 1955–1975, participating in several historically significant battles: Lạng Sơn in 1950, Hòa Bình in 1951–1952, Điện Biên Phủ in 1954, the Tết Offensive in 1968, the Easter Offensive in 1972, and the final Ho Chi Minh Campaign of 1975.

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.

Ministry of Defence (Vietnam) Vietnamese government ministry responsible for military and national defense matters

The Ministry of Defence is the governmental ministry of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam that manages, coordinates and supervises military affairs, including all military units, paramilitary units, and similar agencies in the country. The major office of the Ministry of Defence is located within the ancient Hanoi Citadel. The ministry is operated under the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam as well as other various laws. The Ministry publishes the newspaper Quân Đội Nhân Dân together with the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam.

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.

Vietnam War 1955–1975 conflict in Vietnam

The Vietnam War, also known as the Second Indochina War, and in Vietnam as the Resistance War Against America or simply the American War, was an undeclared war in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. It was the second of the Indochina Wars and was officially fought between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by the Soviet Union, China, and other communist allies; South Vietnam was supported by the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and other anti-communist allies. The war is considered a Cold War-era proxy war from some US perspectives. It lasted some 19 years with direct U.S. involvement ending in 1973 following the Paris Peace Accords, and included the Laotian Civil War and the Cambodian Civil War, resulting in all three countries becoming communist states in 1975.

The Shantou-class gunboat was a Chinese-built gunboat of the People's Republic of China's People's Liberation Army Navy. Known in the United States as the "Swatow" class gunboat, it was based on the Soviet P-6 class torpedo boat. The boat is designated as Type 55A. Instead of being wooden hulled, and having torpedoes as the main armament, the Shantou class is steel-hulled, with guns as the main armament. The Shantou is the predecessor of the Type 062 gunboat, or more commonly known as the Shanghai-I & II class.

Destroyer Type of warship

In naval terminology, a destroyer is a fast, maneuverable long-endurance warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against smaller powerful short-range attackers. They were originally developed in the late 19th century by Fernando Villaamil for the Spanish Navy as a defense against torpedo boats, and by the time of the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, these "torpedo boat destroyers" (TBDs) were "large, swift, and powerfully armed torpedo boats designed to destroy other torpedo boats". Although the term "destroyer" had been used interchangeably with "TBD" and "torpedo boat destroyer" by navies since 1892, the term "torpedo boat destroyer" had been generally shortened to simply "destroyer" by nearly all navies by the First World War.

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.

Ho Chi Minh trail

The Hồ Chí Minh trail was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Vietnam to the Republic of Vietnam through the kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia. The system provided support, in the form of manpower and materiel, to the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam and the People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN), or North Vietnamese Army, during the Vietnam War.

South Vietnam former country in southeast Asia

South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the "State of Vietnam", which was a constitutional monarchy (1949–1955). This became the "Republic of Vietnam" in 1955. Its capital was Saigon. South Vietnam was bordered by North Vietnam to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, Thailand across the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia across the South China Sea to the east and southeast.

Operation Market Time

Operation Market Time was the United States Navy and South Vietnam's successful effort begun in 1965 to stop the flow of troops, war material, and supplies by sea, coast, and rivers, from North Vietnam into parts of South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Also participating in Operation Market Time were United States Coast Guard Squadron One and Squadron Three. The Coast Guard provided heavily armed 82-foot (25 m) patrol boats and large cutters that included 5" cannon used in battle and gunfire support.

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.

Battle of Đồng Hới

The Battle of Đồng Hới was a clash between United States Navy warships and Vietnam People's Air Force (VPAF) MiG-17F fighter bombers, several torpedo boats and shore batteries on April 19, 1972 during the Vietnam War. This was the first time U.S. warships faced an air raid since the end of World War II.

Cruise missile Aerodynamic missile

A cruise missile is a guided missile used against terrestrial targets that remains in the atmosphere and flies the major portion of its flight path at approximately constant speed. Cruise missiles are designed to deliver a large warhead over long distances with high precision. Modern cruise missiles are capable of travelling at supersonic or high subsonic speeds, are self-navigating, and are able to fly on a non-ballistic, extremely low-altitude trajectory.

Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 fighter aircraft family

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-17 is a high-subsonic fighter aircraft produced in the USSR from 1952 and operated by numerous air forces in many variants. It is an advanced development of the very similar looking MiG-15 of the Korean War. The MiG-17 was license-built in China as the Shenyang J-5 and Poland as the PZL-Mielec Lim-6.

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.

VPN's Naval Infantry in Spratly Islands Quan doi duyet binh o Truong Sa.JPG
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

VPN's Naval regions Vietnam Naval Regions.jpg
VPN's Naval regions

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

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:

Service branches

Surface ShipsNaval CommandoMarine Corps.Naval AviationCoastal Defence MissilesSubmarines
Anchor Navy.jpg
Vietnam Infantry symbol.jpg
Navy Marine anchor.jpg
Air Force wings.jpg
Missile Force.jpg
Anchor Navy.jpg

Ranks in Vietnam People's Navy

Vietnam People's Army
Emblem VPA.svg
Flag of the People's Army of Vietnam.svg
Ministry of Defence
Vietnam People's Army General Staff insignia.jpg General 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 OfficersSenior OfficersJunior 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 đốcPhó Đô đốcChuẩn Đô đốcĐại táThượng tá Trung táThiếu táĐại úyThượng úyTrung úyThiếu úy
Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lt.Commander Senior Lieutenant Lieutenant Sub-lieutenant Ensign
Naval cadetNCOsSeamen
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 quanThượng sĩTrung sĩHạ sĩBinh nhấtBinh nhì
Midshipman Master Chief Petty Officer Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer First Class Leading Seaman Seaman
Vietnam Naval Academy's symbol Vietnam Naval Academy logo.png
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

Related Research Articles

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Haiphong Municipality in Vietnam

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Republic of Vietnam Navy former naval branch of the South Vietnamese military

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Khánh Hòa Province Province in South Central Coast, Vietnam

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Vietnam Coast Guard coastal patrol branch of Vietnams military

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East Sea Campaign

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Namyit Island island

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Sand Cay island

Sand Cay10°23′N114°29′E, also known as Son Ca Island is a cay on the north edge of the Tizard Bank of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea. With an area of 7 hectares, it is the ninth largest, and the fourth largest former Vietnamese-administered, of the Spratly Islands. The island has been occupied by Vietnam since 1974,. It is also claimed by China, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

Vietnam Naval Academy

Vietnam Naval Academy is one of Vietnamese military academies belongs to Vietnam People's Navy for training naval commanding officers in division level and commanding staffs in tactical/campaign level, include undergraduates and postgraduates of military.

Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam

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Political organizations and Armed forces in Vietnam, since 1912 :

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Naval history of Vietnam

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Z189 is a state-owned shipyard in Vietnam, operated by the Ministry of Defense. The shipyard was established in 1989 in Hải An District, Haiphong.


  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.