Russia is expected to deliver the first Varshavyanka class of the six submarines to Vietnam in November, officials announced today.
The Varshavyanka class (Project 636M) of diesel-electric submarines, dubbed by the U.S. Navy as “black holes in the ocean”, has very low noise emission and can hit targets at long distances without being detected by an enemy’s anti-submarine warfare assets.
While the Vietnamese crew has been undergoing training since April, the submarine successfully completed 100-day sea trials in July this year, Admiralty Shipyards officials stated.
Vietnam ordered a fleet of six Russian-made submarines in 2009, seen as an effort to counterbalance China’s expanding maritime influence in the region. The contract, which also stipulates the training of Vietnamese submarine crews in Russia, is reportedly worth $2 billion.
All six boats are being built at Admiralty Shipyards and to be delivered by 2016.
The Varshavyanka class is an improvement on the Kilo, with more advanced stealth technology and an extended combat range. The vessels displace 3,100 tons, reach speeds of 20 knots, can dive to 300 meters and carry crews of 52 people.
The submarines, which feature 533-milimeter torpedo tubes and are armed with torpedoes, mines and Kalibr 3M54 (NATO SS-N-27 Sizzler) cruise missiles, are mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in relatively shallow waters.