Vietnam tests 1st Russian-made submarine in Cam Ranh

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HQ182 Hanoi, Vietnam's first Varshavyanka-class submarine, docks at Cam Ranh military port in Khanh Hoa Province last Friday afternoon. Photo by Nguyen Chung

The first of six Varshavyanka-class submarines bought from Russia carried out its first operational tests in Vietnamese waters Wednesday.

All of HQ182 Hanoi's engines were tested for the first time and the vessel returned to Cam Ranh military port the same day, a source said.

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It had been towed by two Vietnamese Navy tugboats from Dutch heavy-lift ship Rolldock Sea and into the port last Friday.

It is expected to finish tests by this Friday.

An official handover ceremony will be held on January 15 instead of Friday as earlier planned.

The Rolldock Sea had brought it on a 27,000-km journey from St. Petersburg that took more than six and a half weeks. 

HQ182 Hanoi was launched in August 2012 and several trial runs were performed at sea in Russia.

It is one of the six diesel-electric submarines considered improvements over the older Kilo-class vessels  that Vietnam agreed to buy 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 Vietnam crews, and supply Vietnam with 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 3M54 (or 3M-54 Klub) cruise missiles. They weigh 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. 

RIA Novosti cited sources from the Admiralty Shipyards and Russian defense officials as saying that the second and third submarines, HQ183 Ho Chi Minh City and HQ184 Hai Phong, are scheduled to be delivered later this year.

The Vietnam Navy established its first modern submarine unit last June.

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