Vietnam all set to get 2nd Russian-made submarine

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The Vietnamese navy and Russia's Admiralty Shipyards sign documents last week to mark the handover of the Varshavyanka-class submarine HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City. PHOTO COURTESY OF ADMIRALTY SHIPYARDS

HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City, the second of six Varshavyanka-class submarines Vietnam has agreed to buy from Russia, will arrive in Vietnam in six weeks' time,  according to a Russian shipbuilding source.

Russian news agency Interfax quoted the source as saying Monday that the vessel has sailed from St. Petersburg-based Admiralty Shipyards for Kaliningrad, where it will be loaded on to a ship for transport to Vietnam.

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The Vietnamese navy and Admiralty Shipyards last Thursday signed documents to mark completion of the submarine's operational tests and handover to Vietnam.

HQ-182 Hanoi, the first of the subs, arrived in Cam Ranh Bay in the central province of Khanh Hoa December 31 aboard the Dutch heavy-lift ship Rolldock Sea.

It carried out its first operational tests in Vietnamese waters earlier this month.

The six diesel-electric submarines, considered improvements over the older Kilo-class, were bought under a US$2-billion deal signed during a visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Russia in 2009.

Under the contract, Russia will deliver all of them by 2016, train Vietnamese crews, and supply necessary spare parts.

They are designed mainly for anti-submarine and anti-ship missions in relatively shallow waters, but can also be used for general reconnaissance and patrols.

The third vessel, named the HQ-184 Hai Phong, is expected to be delivered later this year, Russian newspaper RIA Novosti reported.

The Times of India newspaper reported in November that the Indian Navy was training over 500 Vietnamese sailors in submarine operations and underwater warfare under a major bilateral initiative as part of their strategic partnership.

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