Vietnam has unveiled its new local-made VCM-01 anti-ship cruise missile which is a development of the Vietnamese KCT-15, a customized version of the Russian-made Kh-35UE produced under license in Vietnam. VietDefense reported that Vietnamese VCM-01 anti-ship cruise missile is a local-made version of the Russian Kh-35UE which has a maximum firing range of 300 km and a warhead of 300 kg. Hence, it remains unclear whether KCT 15 is a weapon fully developed by local defense industry.
The Zvezda Kh-35 (AS-20 ‘Kayak’) is a Soviet turbojet subsonic cruise anti-ship missile. The same missile can also be launched from helicopters, surface ships and coastal defence batteries with the help of a rocket booster. The Kh-35 missile is a subsonic weapon featuring a normal aerodynamic configuration with cruciform wings and fins and a semisubmerged air duct intake. The propulsion unit is a turbofan engine. The missile is guided to its target at the final leg of the trajectory by commands fed from the active radar homing head and the radio altimeter.
At present, Vietnam is an operator of sea-based Kh-35E missiles. In particular, Gepard-3.9 (Gepard-class) frigates, BPS-500 corvette and Project 12418 (Tarantul V-class) missile boats of Vietnamese Navy have received Kh-35E anti-ship missiles as the main weapon. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute`s (SIPRI) arms transfers database, Russia supplied to Vietnam 198 Kh-35E anti-ship missiles in 2001-2015. The production of KCT 15 will boost the capabilities of the local defense industry and simplify the logistic support for 3M24E ASMs acquired from Russia.