Created: 5/1/1969

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Intelligence Memorandum

Communist Military Aid Deliveries to North Vietnam8


This memorandum presents an estimate of Communist military aid deliveries to North Vietnam. The volume and value of Soviet and Chinesemilitary deliveries are presented foryears* but the analysis is focused The methodology used tothe estimates is discussed in the appendix. This memorandum was prepared jointly by the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Comnunist Military Aid Deliveries to North Vietnam

During 8


Military aid deliveries to North Vietnam from other Communist countries8 had an estimated value of0 million, more than one-third below the level This declineeduction in North Vietnamese requirements for antiaircraftand surface-to-air missiles after the US bombing restrictions ofarch and the bombing haltovember. The decline in deliveries does notany decreased willingness on the part of the USSR or Communist China to supply weapons. North Vietnam continued to receive the means for improving its air defenses, including equipment for additional surface-to-air missile battalions, advanced models of radar, and advanced configurations of theet fighter aircraft.

The USSR was again the principal supplier of military equipmentut Communist Chinalightly greater role than in the previous three years, supplying one-fourth of the total. The Eastern European Communist countries and North Korea are believed to have provided only small amounts. In addition to the equipment deliveries. Communist China maintained troops in North Vietnam to assist in construction of lines of communication and airfields and to afford additional air defense cover. Ashare ofhinese troops which wore in North Vietnam at the beginning8 were gradually withdrawn during the year. Possibly as manyoviet military advisers andwere assisting in North Vietnamnd some North Korean pilots were flying defensive Communist weapons and manpower probably were provided free of charge.

Military equipment deliveriesill be even below8 level if the bombing of North Vietnam is not resumed. Improvements in air defense capabilities have been continuing.


Military Deliveries8

orth Vietnam's imports of military equipmentalued in Soviet foreign trade prices, are estimated at0ore than one-third less than deliverieshevalue of Communist military equipment deliveries to North Vietnams almostillion, as shown in the following tabulation:

Million US $


Communist China

Eastern Europe

North Korea


5 6 7 8

Negl. Negl. Negl.

Negl. Negl. Negl. Negl.

2. The decline in the value of military imports was concentrated in the second half ofand re- lecteharp drop in requirements forurface-to-air missiles and antiaircraft artillery ammunition following the US bombing restrictions adopted onarch. The North Vietnameseissilesompared with morend it is estimated that

Soviet foreign trade priaee are the list prices charged for military hardware and ammunition by the USSR under ite aid agreements with nan-Communiat countries. Valuea calculated at equivalent US coate, intended to reflect the coat of the Soviet materiel if it were produced in the United States, generally are higher than the foreign trade valuatione. Values inre expressed in both types of prices, but values in the text are given in foreign

trade prices.

** r

replacement missiles were importedom* pared Ammunition imports are estimated to have dropped0 tons7 to0 tons The decrease inof antiaircraft artillery ammunition was less pronounced than the decrease in expenditures ofissiles because North Vietnam continued to rely heavily on antiaircraft artillery for airin the southern Panhandle, where the bombing continuedigh level throughfter the bombing halt ofctober, antiaircraft defenses in the Laotian Panhandle were increased, although the increase in the use of ammunition there did not offset the reduced expenditures in North Vietnam.

3* Imports of artillery and armor also wereto be lower8 than in previous years when North Vietnam was building its inventory of these items. On the other hand there were increased deliveries of radar, small arms, and other infantry weapons. North Vietnam improved its night and poor-weather airby importing fire control radar forartillery. Large increases were made inof light automatic weaponsnd the value of these weapons increased substantiallyercent of the value of imports of small arms and other infantry weapons.

value of aircraft deliveries8 was the same asut alljet fighter deliveries.weres; therefurther deliveries of obsoletef thes deliveredosses inflicted by US attacks. Mosts delivered since8 are believed

to be the more advanced all-weather Fishbed's; previously North Vietnam possessed only earlier models. Other aircraft deliveries to North Vietnam8 included at least threeight cargo helicopters and oneassenger aircraft from the USSR.



the value of ammunitionillion, was considerably below thethe previous year, ammunition imports asof total military imports was about tho same


in both years. The share of imports made up by air defense weaponsSAM systems, including replacement missiles, MIG jet fighter aircraft, radar, andartillerydropped from aboutercent7 toercent Ground forces weapons, such as small arms, other infantry weapons, and field artillery, increasedercent of the value of military imports7ercent The value of military imports from the USSR and Communist China, grouped according to end use, is given in the following tabulation:

Million US S






a.Because of pounding, components may not add to the totals ehoun.

Other Military Assistance

6. In addition to combat equipment. Communist countries have provided considerable militaryin the form of manpower services and military-related goods and equipment. At the beginning00 Chinese "support troops were working on construction, repair, and air defenses in North Vietnam, primarily on rail lines, airfields, and antiaircraft artillery and radar sites in the north. With the bombing halt in the north onarch and the completion of some construction projects.


arge number of Chinese military personnel and technicians were withdrawn during the year. No firm estimate exists on the numberSoviet military technicians in North Vietnamut as manyay have been there training Northjet fighter pilots, assisting in asnembly and checkout of new aircraft, and providing technical assistance for communications, maintenance, andsupport activities. North Koreamallof flight personnel in North Vietnam flying defensive combat patrols around Hanoi and Haiphong from6 through the ond

Sources of Military Assistance

7. The Soviet Union continued to be the principal supplier of military aid although its share of total deliveries dropped to less than three-fourthsrom almost four-fifths. Communist China supplied an increased shareone-fourth compared with one-fifth in the three previous years. Eastern European countries and North Korea together contributed slightly moreercent. Military deliveries from the USSR8 consisted primarily ofand missiles, equipment for surface-to-air missile battalions, radar, andet aircraft. Communist China provided slightly more than one-fourth of the ammunition and most of the small arms and otherweapons. Military aid from the Eastern European countries consistedelatively small number of vehicles, infantry equipment, and small amounts of ammunition; North Korea supplied small amounts of infantry weapons and ammunition. Estimated quantities and values of military imports from the USSR andChina58 are shown innd 2.

8. Military deliveries for8 wereduringuring which time, according to publicumber of agreements wore signed for strengthening the economic and national defense potential of North.Vietnam. Details of the agreements are lacking, but official public statements indicate that Communist China, North Korea, Bulgaria, Poland, the USSR, Hungary, and Rumania agreed to provide military assistanceew military aid agreements, described as supplementary

for the remainderere negotiated during May-July with Bulgaria, Rumania, Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. At the same time, each of these countries, plus East Germany, agreed to provideaid Onorthaid negotiators went to Moscow and signed an additional agreement with the Soviet Union forand economic aid This agreementwas prompted by North Vietnam's changedfollowing the US bombing haltovember. The terras of Communist military aid to North Vietnam are unknown, but the aid is probably in the form of grants.



9. If the bombing of North Vietnam is not resumed. Communist military aid to North Vietnamill be smaller thanince requirements for expendable air defense munitions will be reduced further. However, new equipment to strengthen and improve North Vietnam's air defense capability probably will continue to be acquired. Deliveries of at leastircraft from the USSRumber ofircraft from Communist China already have been received during the first quarter Military aid probably will also be used to modernize theof North Vietnam's military forces. More sophisticated components probably will replaceheavily used under adverse conditions during the period of US bombing. It is unlikely, however, that the North Vietnamese will feel the need to increase their weapons inventories unless the fighting should accelerate considerably.



Appendi x

Estimates of communist military deliveries to North Vietnam are based on indirect evidenceide variety of sources as to the types and quantities of weapons supplied. There is virtually no direct information on imports of munitions. The estimate of major items of military equipment delivered each year is derived from an analysis

inventories weapons

destroyed. Arnraunition tonnages are computed using various estimated factors. For example, expenditures of antiaircraft ammunition, which have comprised someercent of total estimated ammunition deliveries, were derivedroduct of number of firing units, weapons involved, rates of fire for these weapons, duration of firing, and weight per round. Estimates of missiles fired are based on

The military aid supplied by the USSR andChina is distinguished by the type ofand ammunition produced by the donor country. For example,ircraft are assumed to have been provided by the USSR because Communist China does not produce this item. All SAM equipment, heavy antiaircraft artillery, and most of the lighterare assumed to come from the USSR because the USSR has far greater quantities of these weapons. Most of the small arms and other infantry weaponsto North Vietnam are believed to originate in China because most of the captured small arms that have been observed in South Vietnam are of Chinese origin. From two-thirds to four-fifths of the ammunition in past years was estimated to have come from the USSR, depending on the amounts ofammunition expended.

Values derived foreflect both the Soviet foreign trade prices and US factor costs.


Foreign trade prices arc the list prices charged for military hardware and ammunition by the USSR under its aid agreements with non-Communist countries. Values calculated at equivalent US costs are intended to reflect the cost of the Communist materiel if it were produced in the United States. They are generally higher than the foreign trade valuations, the principal exceptions being ammunition and small arms.


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