Rosoboronexport signed a delivery contract on six Project 636M diesel electric submarines to Vietnam during visit of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to Russia on Dec 15, 2009. All subs will be built at Admiralteyskie Verfi shipyard in St. Petersburg; rate of delivery is one sub per year. Total contract value of submarines construction makes $2.1 bln. Considering establishment of appropriate coastal infrastructure in Vietnam, delivery of arms and other systems, total sum could reach $3.2 bln. In this case the agreement would become the most expensive contract in the Russia's naval arms export.
"Amount of Russian Project 636/877 diesel electric submarines in Asian countries will increase up to 28 after execution of the contract with Vietnam; that will ensure Russia to keep leading positions at this market", informed RIA Novosti referring to GATAC press release.
Vietnam's decision to purchase Russian diesel electric subs fits into the general trend of some Asian countries to create national submarine fleets. To make the best use of this factor, Russia makes a package offer including not only building submarines but also establishment of appropriate submarine maintenance infrastructure, and training personnel, pointed out GATAC experts.
At present, Russia proceeds with implementation of long-term upgrade program of ten Project 877EKM diesel electric subs for Indian Navy. Since 2000 Indian Project 877EKM submarines have been armed with Club-S missile system. Indian Navy currently has in service 5 Project 877EKM submarines with Club-S system. One more sub is under modernization. Upgrade contract of four more Indian diesel subs and installation of Club-S system with 3M-54E1 missiles was signed in Sept 2009. All modernized Project 877EKM submarines have six 533-mm torpedo tubes with 14 torpedoes, and 4 supersonic cruise missiles 3M-54E1 having flight range about 220 km and designed for destroying surface ships, submarines, and land targets.
Construction program of diesel submarines for China has become one of the largest orders in Russia's recent history. Delivery contract of eight Project 636 subs armed with Club-S missile system for Chinese Navy was tied in May 2002. Its total value exceeded $1.6 bln. The contract was implemented in 2004-2006. China also intends to mount Club-S system into previously delivered Russian diesel subs (two Project 877EKM and two Project 636 submarines).
According to estimates of GATAC, Russia, Germany, and France will remain key players at Asian market of diesel submarines. In some particular countries the leading trio could compete with Sweden and Holland. South Korea with its Project 209 diesel subs built under German license could also participate.
Russia has a chance to win some regional tenders, such as second parcel of six diesel electric submarines for India, ànd also Indonesia, Thailand and other countries.
Project 636 submarine is the evolution of Project 877EKM diesel electric submarine and has such distinctive features as increased submarine speed (up to 20 knots), extended operational range in submerged position, and improved silence. Combat effectiveness of Project 636 submarine has been significantly increased because of Club-S missile system