On December 31, Vietnamese media reported the delivery of the first Russian Project 636 Varshavyanka-class (enhanced Kilo) conventional submarine to Cam Ranh Bay. The sub was transported from the port of St. Petersburg on the heavy lift vessel Rolldock Sea.
The submarine was accompanied by experts from Admiralty Shipyards in St. Petersburg who will undertake final work before the formal handover ceremonies. The submarine will be named HQ 182 Hanoi. The last of the remaining five Project 636 Varshavyanka-class submarines is expected to be delivered by 2016.
In late November, during the visit of Vietnam’s party Secretary General Nguyen Phu Trong to India, it was announced that India would provide training for up to 500 submarines as part of its defense cooperation program with Vietnam. Training will be conducted at the Indian Navy’s modern submarine training center INS Satavahana in Visakhapatnam. The Indian Navy has operated Russian Kilo-class submarines since the mid-1980s.
The arrival of HQ 182 Hanoi provides a timely reminder that regional navies are embarking on naval modernization programs that increasingly include the acquisition of conventional submarines.
As long ago as 1967 Indonesia became one of the first Southeast Asian countries to acquire an undersea capability when it took delivery of a batch of Soviet Whiskey-class submarines. These were later replaced in 1978 by two West German diesel submarines.