Sudan’s navy has taken delivery of a training vessel donated by Russia as part of bilateral military cooperation between the two countries.
The vessel arrived in the second week of October. According to the Sudan News Agency, it was officially received at the Port Sudan Naval Base in the presence of a Russian delegation and Sudanese officials.
Sudan and Russia signed several military cooperation agreements related to training, knowledge exchange and ship visits during a trip by former President Omar Al-Bashir to Moscow in 2017. In May 2019 Sudan and Russia signed an agreement to allow Russian warships access to Sudan’s ports.
During the ceremony on 10 October, Major General Haj Ahmed Youssef, representative of the Commander of the Navy, stated that the ship will be a valuable addition to the naval force’s arsenal, especially in the field of training, according to the Sudan News Agency.
The donated vessel appears to be a Project UK-3 (NATO Petrushka) class vessel (UK-307/Orson) built in Gdansk, Poland, in 1989. It has a total displacement of 350 tons and a length of 39.27 m, and accommodates 13 crew members and 28 cadets and instructors. Speed is 12 knots and range 1 000 nautical miles at 10 knots.
The vessel is one of the largest in Sudan’s naval fleet, which is believed to comprise several Kurmuk class patrol boats, a single Swiftship type patrol boat, several ex-Yugoslav patrol boats, several Sewart type patrol craft, two ex-Iranian Kadir class coastal patrol craft and two Sobat class amphibious/transport/supply vessels.
The donation of the training ship comes as Russia attempts to establish a naval base in Sudan. According to a document published on 11 November on a Russian government website, a bilateral draft agreement between the two countries would allow for Russia to establish a naval logistics base in Sudan for the repair and supply of warships as well as provide rest to sailors.
The draft agreement says that up to 300 crew and four warships may stay at the naval logistics base, including ships with nuclear-propulsion systems, Radio Free Europe reported. The publication added that the agreement states that Russia is willing to deliver weapons and military hardware to Sudan for free in order maintain the air defence of the Sudanese naval base at Port Sudan, where the Russian naval facility would be built.