Vietnamese army training officers with new assault rifles and other weapons

According to a tweet posted by VietDefense, operational training for new equipment in the Vietnamese army (Vietnam’s People Army, VPA) is being given to training officers. These new equipment include AGS-17s, RPG-29s and the VPA's latest model of assault rifle: the STV-380s and STV-215s with under-barrel grenade launchers.
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A Vietnamese officer gives explanations about the new STV-215 assault rifle with under-barrel grenade launcher (Picture source: via Twitter account of VietDefense)

The STV rifle, short for Súng Trường Việt Nam (lit. 'Rifle of Vietnam' or 'Vietnamese rifle') in Vietnamese, is a family of assault rifles made by Vietnam. They are all assembled at the Z111 Factory, and currently, all of them are chambered in 7.62x39mm. The STV-215 is the carbine version of the STV-380. It is used alongside the STV-380 as one of the standard issued rifles for the People's Army of Vietnam. It is similar to the STV-380 in all aspects, except the barrel length is 215mm. In 2021, the STV-215 and the STV-380 became the standard issued rifles for the People's Army of Vietnam. 

The Vietnamese army realized the increasing lack of capability of the battle-hardened RPG-7s and AK-47s and the process of replacing them with newer, more capable domestically-produced weapons is already underway. STV-380s and STV-215s are domestic versions with slight modifications of the Galil ACE 31/32 7.62X39mm Assault Rifle which the VPA bought the production license for.

The Galil ACE represents a full product line of military rifles in the world’s three most popular calibers (5.56×45 NATO, 7.62×39 M43, and 7.62×51 NATO) made in the full spectrum of configurations, from a compact carbine and up to long-barreled marksman rifle. All Galil ACE rifles feature the same basic design, based on combat-proven Galil action, and feature the same array of ergonomic enhancements, including ambidextrous controls, adjustable telescoping buttstocks, comfortable pistol grips, integral Picatinny rails, etc. The 5.56 mm version of the Galil ACE assault rifle is adopted by the Colombian army and is manufactured under the Israeli license by Colombian government-owned factory Indumil.

The Galil ACE rifle is a gas-operated, select-fire weapon. It uses long-stroke gas-operated action with a gas piston located above the barrel. Locking is achieved by rotating bolt with dual locking lugs. The receiver is machined from steel, with a polymer magazine housing/pistol grip unit attached below. The detachable stamped steel receiver cover houses an integral Picatinny rail and rear sight base. The charging handle is located on the left side of the receiver and is attached directly to the bolt carrier. To provide maximum protection from dust and dirt at all times, the charging handle slot is covered with a spring-loaded dust cover which opens and closes after each shot automatically. The safety/fire mode selector is duplicated at both sides of the weapon and has a better shape when compared to predecessors. Feed is from detachable box magazines; the NATO caliber versions (in 5.56 and 7.62 mm) use standard Galil magazines with 35- and 25-round capacity, respectively. The 7.62×39 versions use standard AK magazines with a 30-round capacity. Standard sighting equipment includes a protected front post (adjustable for zeroing) and protected flip-up type rear diopter sight. A wide array of modern optical sights can be installed on the integral Picatinny rail. All Galil ACE rifles (except for sub-compact ACE 21 and ACE 31 carbines) also feature a bayonet lug on the barrel.

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Vietnamese soldiers demonstrating the AGS-17 grenade launcher (Picture source: via Twitter account of VietDefense)


The AGS-17 is a heavy infantry support weapon designed to operate from a tripod or mounted on an installation or vehicle. The AGS-17 fires 30 mm grenades in either direct or indirect fire to provide suppressive and lethal fire support against soft-skinned or fortified targets. The weapon uses a blowback mechanism to sustain the operation. Rounds are fired through a removable (to reduce barrel stress) rifled barrel. The standard metal ammunition drum contains 29 linked rounds. The tripod is equipped with fine leveling gear for indirect fire trajectories.

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Vietnamese soldiers with RPG-29 (Picture source: via Twitter account of VietDefense)


The RPG-29 "Vampir" is a reusable rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher. Adopted by the Soviet Army in 1989, it was the last RPG to be adopted by the Soviet military before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The RPG-29 has since been supplemented by other rocket-propelled systems, such as the RPG-30 and RPG-32. The RPG-29 has been implicated in an attack on the British Challenger 2 tanks in Iraq, as well as in attacks on Israeli Merkava tanks in Lebanon, which breached the tanks' armor and in some cases injured or killed members of the crew.