In 2010 when Viettel decided to study and manufacture radars to monitor the airspace, few people believed that Viettel could achieve the ambitious goal. At that time, there were only eight countries with enormous military industrial complexes capable of doing that. In Vietnam, no military business dared to embark on studying and manufacturing the product. Before that, some of them only studied and renovated available radars.

Viettel has created a new era in Vietnam’s defense industry. (Photo for illustration)

It was a challenging mission for Viettel’s engineers because they had no experience in that field. 

Director of the Radar Station under the Viettel High Technology Industries Corporation Tran Vu Hop, one of the first engineers participating in the project, recalled that at that time his team had to make regular reports on the progress of the product to higher levels.

One interesting thing was that none of them thought much about the heavy responsibility that they were baring, but considered the mission a difficult technical issue that they had to solve in a fixed period of time.

Hop said that creating “made by Viettel” radars was not a piece of cake. In spite of various obstacles, his team never thought of giving up on the project. “Working under pressure helped us grow” said the Director of Viettel’s Radar Station. 

He recalled the hard, but memorable time when his team first studied, manufactured, and tested their first radar system in difficult conditions. In other countries with modern military industry complexes, they had their own testing grounds with the most modern facilities built next to an airport, so as to raise target tracking accuracy of their radar system. Meanwhile, Viettel’s engineers could not afford to test their product with flying objects, especially military aircraft.

“Hiring a Su-30 fighter is not only costly, but also may affect national defense. Before the product is completed, we are not allowed to test it with a real flying object,” the Director of Viettel’s Radar Station said. That’s why Viettel’s engineers made all of the calculations of the first low-range radar 2D on paper and could only check the system with a flying object at the final test.

Hop recalled that the test of their first radar took place on a remote hill surrounded by a cemetery and fields. This was the first time that the team had a chance to test their system with a real fighter and check the accuracy of the system in a real situation.  All of the engineers were nervous waiting for the Su-30 fighter to appear on the radar screen. When the target was detected, all of the team members burst with joy and happiness.

“The testing result proved that Viettel’s product met all set requirements,” Hop said. The Ministry of National Defense evaluated the quality of Viettel’s radar and deemed it comparable to imported military equipment.

After 2D radar, Viettel successfully developed a VRS-CSX mid-range coastal warning radar for the Vietnam People’s Navy. The product was tested and approved by the Ministry of National Defense on May, 2018. Its quality and techno-tactical features were similar to that of the most modern radars that Vietnam’s naval units were using at that time. The “made by Viettel” radar met all of the standards of NATO and was approved for massive production. . 

Manufacturing radar is one of the steps made by Viettel to realize its target to become a hi-tech defense industry group in 2020. Through making radar and other high-tech air defense equipment, Viettel has created a new era in Vietnam’s defense industry.

Thanks to strengthening its production activities, Viettel has developed from a telecoms business to an industry and telecommunications one in 2018. In 2017 and 2018, the manufacturing sector helped Viettel generate a total of VND 17.4 trillion in revenue and earn a profit of VND 5.2 trillion.

Translated by Tran Hoai