US warship docks in Vietnam for training exercise

By Xuan Ngoc   July 5, 2017 | 06:02 pm GMT+7

The USS Coronado arrived in Vietnam’s strategic naval base at Cam Ranh Bay on Wednesday for the four-day event.

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Accompanied by salvage ship USNS Salvor, the warship has carried a crew of 120 sailors to Khanh Hoa Province for the annual Naval Engagement Activity.

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The USS Coronado is an Independence-class littoral combat ship (LCS), and is 127 meters long and 32 meters wide. Cam Ranh Bay, around 354 kilometers (220 miles) north of Ho Chi Minh City, is considered the strategic deep water harbor at the center of Vietnam's military modernization and home to its fleet of modern Russian-built submarines.

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The ship has two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, allowing it to move at a top speed of 87kph. Designed by the French during their colonial rule, Cam Ranh served as a regional staging point for the Russians in their 1905 war against Japan. The Japanese occupied the port during the Second World War and the U.S-backed Saigon regime exploited the bay during the Vietnam War.

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It is equipped with modern weaponry, like this 57-mm Mk 110 Bofors canon. Following the reunification of the country in 1975, Vietnam allowed Russian naval forces to maintain a permanent presence in the bay until 2002.

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The SeaRAM missile defense system. In 2011, the U.S. and Vietnam signed a memorandum of understanding calling for an annual port visit, but excluded Cam Ranh. In 2012, then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Cam Ranh Bay, the first high-ranking American official to do so since the end of the Vietnam War.

 
 
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Hanoi later turned the bay into an international port, open to all on a commercial basis. Singaporean, French and Japanese warships have also made port calls in Cam Ranh.

 
 
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The salvage ship USNS Salvor is 78 meters long and has a full load displacement of 3,300 tons.