HANOI, February 6. /TASS/. Vietnam’s national flag has been hoisted on two Gepard-class frigates, built in Russia for the Vietnamese Navy. The ceremony took place at the Cam Ranh naval base on Tuesday.
"The moment the new combat ships entered combat duty heralded a major phase in upgrading the Vietnamese Navy, enhancing its combat capability and making a decisive contribution to strengthening the protection of the country’s maritime borders," the commander of Vietnam’s 4th Naval Region, Rear Admiral Pham Van Hoanh said at the ceremony.
The ships were the last two of the four Gepard class frigates (Project 11661) built for Vietnam at the Zelenodolsk shipyards in Tatarstan. The first two frigates were handed over to Vietnam in 2011.
The ships of this class are meant for searching for and fighting submarines and surface and air targets, performing patrol and escort missions and guarding the maritime economic zone. They are armed with artillery, anti-ship, anti-aircraft and anti-submarine weapons.
Russia has for many years been Vietnam’s main partner in the field of military-technical cooperation. In recent years a total of $4.5 billion worth of contracts were signed for supplying Russia’s newest weapons to Vietnam. The most significant ones were the sale of a batch of multi-role Sukhoi-30MK2 fighters approximately $1 billion worth and the agreement to sell six Varshavyanka class submarines (project 636.1) more than $2 billion worth.