Vietnam navy receives first Russian-made submarine

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Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Van Quan, captain of HQ-182 Hanoi, and Lieutenant Colonel Pham Quang Hoan, the submarine's commissar, raise the national flag (red) and the Vietnam People's Navy flag on the submarine's conning tower. PHOTO: QUAN DOI NHAN DAN

Vietnam has formally taken delivery of the HQ-182 Hanoi, the first of six Varshavyanka-class submarines it bought from Russia.

The Vietnam People's Navy held a ceremony to hoist the country's and navy's flags on the vessel at the Cam Ranh military port in Khanh Hoa Province Wednesday.

Deputy Minister of Defense Admiral Nguyen Van Hien, Commander-in-Chief of the navy was present. 


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HQ-182 Hanoi arrived in Cam Ranh Bay December 31 aboard the Dutch heavy-lift ship Rolldock Sea from St. Petersburg. 

It carried out its first operational tests in Vietnamese waters on January 8.

The Vietnamese flag flies on the conning tower of the HQ-182 Hanoi (right) Wednesday morning. Photo by Mai Thanh Hai

It is one of the six diesel-electric submarines considered improvements over the older Kilo-class vessels that Vietnam is buying from Russia under a US$2-billion deal signed during a visit by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to that country in 2009.

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

The submarines are being built by the St. Petersburg-based Admiralty Shipyards.

They are nicknamed "black holes" for their ability to remain undetected underwater, and 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 (or 3M-54 Klub) cruise missiles. They displace 3,100 tons, can reach speeds of 20 knots (37 kilometers per hour), dive to 300 meters, and hold 52 crew members.

They make little noise and can hit long-distance targets.

The second and third submarines, HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City and HQ-184 Hai Phong, are scheduled to be delivered later this year, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

It quoted a Russian military-industrial source as saying on January 9 that the signing for the handing over of the HQ-183 Ho Chi Minh City will take place in St. Petersburg at the end of this month, before it sails for Vietnam.

The Vietnamese navy established its first modern submarine unit, the Submarine Brigade No.189, last June.

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