September 15, 2012: In August, Vietnam announced that it had finalized the purchase of six Kilo class submarines. About the same time Russia revealed that the first of these Vietnamese Kilos was in the water and will undergo sea trials before the end of the year.
It was three years ago that Vietnam first announced that it was buying six Russian Kilo class submarines, for $300 million each. The Kilos weigh 2,300 tons (surface displacement), have six torpedo tubes, and a crew of 57. They are quiet and can travel about 700 kilometers under water at a quiet speed of about five kilometers an hour. Kilos carry 18 torpedoes or SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles (with a range of 300 kilometers and launched underwater from the torpedo tubes). The combination of quietness and cruise missiles makes Kilo very dangerous to surface ships. North Korea, China, and Iran have also bought Kilos. China is building its own unlicensed version of the Kilo (the Type 41 Song class). Considering the low price, it appears that the Vietnamese boats do not have AIP (Air Independent Propulsion), which allows non-nuclear boats to stay underwater for weeks at a time.