Vietnamese frigate docks in China for naval exercise

By Vu Hoang   October 21, 2018 | 08:31 pm PT
Vietnamese frigate 015 Tran Hung Dao will participate in a joint naval exercise with ASEAN nations and China this week.
Cadres and sailors of the 015 Tran Hung Dao performed the greeting ceremony as they approached Chinese dock. Photo by Bao Hai Quan (Vietnamese Navy newspaper).

Officers and sailors on the 015 Tran Hung Dao greet as they approach the Chinese dock on Sunday. Photo courtesy of Hai Quan Newspaper

The 015 Tran Hung Dao, a Russian built Gepard-class frigate with advanced military equipment, arrived at Zhanjiang City, Guangdong Province, Sunday, to join the five-day ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise that will last from Monday to Friday.

Making an announcement at a gathering of ASEAN defense ministers in Singapore, also attended by U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Chinese counterpart, Singapore Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen said Friday that the first joint drills between China and ASEAN would help to "build trust, confidence," Reuters reported.

The Vietnamese crew will participate in tactical drills, mapping and field exercises, and naval exercises. Officers and sailors of the Vietnamese frigate will also enjoy entertainment events including sports and cultural exchanges with sailors of other Southease Asian and Chinese naval vessels.

Prior to this visit, the warship also made port calls in Japan and South Korea as part of a 9,300-kilometer long journey beginning last month. The voyage was the longest that any Vietnamese naval has undertaken.

In South Korea, the frigate participated in an international parade at sea with warships from 12 other countries, including the U.S., Russia and India.

Crew members on Tran Hung Dao. Photo courtesy of Hai Quan Newspaper

Crew members on Tran Hung Dao. Photo courtesy of Hai Quan Newspaper

The Gepard-class frigate is equipped with stealth technology, angular shells and radar absorption paint to minimize radar reflectivity upon facing enemy surveillance systems. It is also equipped with jamming and modern electronic warfare systems.

It is captained by Colonel Le Hong Chien, Deputy Commander of the Naval Region 4 Command, which is in charge of ensuring peace and stability in the waters off Vietnam's south central coast.

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