A part of the HQ-182 Hanoi submarine (black circle) on board the Rolldock Sea, which docked at Cam Ranh Bay, Khanh Hoa Province on Wednesday. The Netherlands-flagged vessel carried the submarine for 27,000 kilometers from Russia's Saint Petersburg to Cam Ranh Bay for one and a half months. Photo by Nguyen Chung
The first of the six Varshavyanka-class submarines that Vietnam has agreed to buy from Russia arrived at Cam Ranh Bay in the central province of Khanh Hoa Tuesday (December 31) evening.
The HQ-182 Hanoi was transported by the Rolldock Sea, a Netherlands-flagged heavy lift vessel, from the Russian port city of Saint Petersburg for one and a half months.
The ship will dock at the Ba Ngoi commercial port for two days of customs procedures and security checks beginning Wednesday, according to local news reports.
On Friday, the vessel will be directed to Cam Ranh military port and submerged so that the submarine can exit the ship and berth at the port.
An official reception ceremony to hand over the submarine will be held on January 10.
Asked why the HQ-182 Hanoi did not travel to Vietnam on its own, an official with the Ministry of Defense told Thanh Nien on the condition of anonymity that Vietnamese submarines will operate mainly within the country's waters and its exclusive economic zone.
Vietnam signed a US$2-billion deal with Russia to buy six diesel-electric submarines considered improvements over the older Kilo-class during a visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to the country in 2009. Under the contract, Russia will deliver all the vessels by 2016, train Vietnam crews, and supply Vietnam with necessary spare parts.
The submarines, nicknamed "black holes" for their ability to remain undetected underwater, are designed for anti-submarine and anti-ship missions in relatively shallow waters, general reconnaissance, and patrols.
They are equipped with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes and Kalibr 3M54 cruise missiles. They displace 3,100 tons of water, reach speeds of 20 knots (37 kilometers per hour), dive to 300 meters and carry 52 crew members.
They make little noise and can hit targets at long distances.
They have been built by Saint Petersburg-based ship manufacturer Admiralty Shipyards.
The HQ-182 Hanoi was officially launched in August 2012 and then carried out several trials on sea.
The second and third submarines, named HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City and HQ-184 Hai Phong, were launched in December 2012 and last August, respectively.
The Rolldock Sea will carry the HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City to Cam Ranh in March, according to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
In his official state visit to Russia last May, Dung inspected the submarine, and met with Vietnamese naval officers who were being trained in Russia for submarine operation.
Vietnam says it is buying the submarines and other armaments, which include two Russia-made Gepard-class frigates delivered to Vietnam in 2011, for self-defense.
The submarines will be used by the Vietnam People's Navy.
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