United States Transfers 2 Patrol Vessels To Vietnam Coast Guard

Through the Foreign Military Financing program (FMF), the United States has transferred 2 Hamiltonian-class patrol vessels which worth 58 million USD of the US Coast Guard to the Vietnam Coast Guard.
July 30, 2020 | 08:34
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Patrol vessel John Midgett (WHEC 726) at US Coast Guard in Seattle, Washington on 8th July. Photo: Retired Tailors of John Midgett Facebook page.

150 million USD in security support from FMF

On 27th July, the US Department of States released a statement, cited that from 2016 - 2019, Vietnam received over 150 million USD in security support from the FMF program.

Of this amount, more than 58 million USD has been allocated to assist the transfer of two Hamilton-class (3,200 tons) patrol vessels of the US Coast Guard to the Vietnam Coast Guard. These are the CSB 8020s (originally the Morgenthau - WHEC 722) which was delivered in 2017 and the John Midgett (WHEC 726), which will be delivered to Vietnam by the end of 2020.

FMF also supports in transferring 24 Metal Shark high-speed patrol boats, of which the last 6 were delivered in May 2020.

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Patrol vessel John Midgett (WHEC 726) at coast patrol port in Seattle, Washington state on May 11. Photo: Retired Tailors of John Midgett Facebook page.

Vietnam also received 5 million USD from FMF in 2018 through the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) program, which aims to support the capacity of training maritime patrol aircraft and drones and coastal radar.

The fiscal year 2016 - 2020, through the US Department of State's Southeast Asia Maritime Security Initiative (SAMSI), Vietnam received 20 million USD from FMF. During this time, the country was funded 10 million USD from the US Department of States through the Indo - Pacific Maritime Security Initiative (MSI).

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John Midgett after dismantling the Phalanx melee array at the stern. The unmanned anti-aircraft radar system is located on the jetty, photos taken on May 16th. Photo: US Coast Guard.

FMF provides funding for nations that buy military equipment and services from the US. However, the US government does not fund directly to those nations. The funding is transferred via American companies.

With the second Hamilton-class patrol vessel, in May 2020, the US Coast Guard removed series of weapons and sensitive electronics, then painted the hull. It is ready to be delivered to the Vietnam Coast Guard.

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Patrol vessel John Midgett (WHEC 726) at the US Coast Guard base in Seattle, Washington on July 8th. Photo: Retired Tailors of John Midgett Facebook page.

According to the photo taken on the 8th July at the US Coast Guard base in Seattle, Washington, the ship still has a grey primer, without white paint and the insignia and number of Vietnam Coast Guard as with the first one (CSB 8020).

The 3rd patrol vessel to be transferred to Vietnam?

In addition, on July 24, the removal of sensitive weapons and electronic equipment from the Mellon (WHEC 717) patrol vessel was conducted at the US Coast Guard base in Seattle.

The vessel was the first Hamilton-class to be equipped with Harpoon anti-ship missile systems, torpedoes and sonar detection systems in 1990. However, after the dissolution the Soviet Union, missiles and torpedoes were removed from it.

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From left to right: Removal of anti-aircraft radar, Phalanx melee guns (6 barrels, 20 mm, at the stern), 2 M242 Bushmaster guns (1 barrel, 25 mm) on either side of the Mellon hull on July 24.

From April 17th, the Mellon conducted the final patrol in the Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea. The vessel returned to the base in Seattle on 7th July, then proceeded to dismantle important weapons and equipment similar to those onboard John Midgett, in preparation for the demobilisation on August 20th.

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The Mellon launched the Harpoon anti-ship missile in 1990. The ship was equipped with the Harpoon anti-ship missile system (8 launchers) behind the main gun at the bow of the ship. Photo: US Coast Guard

According to unconfirmed sources, this vessel will be transferred to the Vietnam Coast Guard. Vietnam had asked the US to transfer three demobilised Hamilton-class patrol vessels. Information will be revealed on 20th August.

The Hamilton-class cutter was the largest class of vessel in the United States Coast Guard in the 1960s. The Hamilton-class cutters were designed with 115 meters in length, 13 meters at the widest point, 4.6 meters draft, displacement 3,250 metric tons and has a range of 22,530 km. Vessels were armed with 1 76 mm Oto Breda cannon, Phalanx rapid-fire artillery system (6 barrels, 25 mm, rate of fire of more than 2,000 rounds per minute) and 25 mm Bushmaster cannon.

The vessel has two diesel engines and two gas turbine engines, with a maximum speed of 29 knots (53.7 km / h). The ship can carry 24 officers and 160 sailors, operating continuously for 45 days at sea. Equipped with a helicopter flight deck, retractable hangar, and the facilities to support helicopter deployment.

The Hamilton-class cutters were designed to be a highly versatile platform capable of performing various operations, including patrolling the territorial waters, search and rescue and oceanographic research. It can operate in all seas around the world, withstand high winds. It is also known as a large patrol vessel with high endurance cutter

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Mellon patrol vessel after dismantling main weapons and important electronic equipment, July 25th. Photo: US Coast Guard Facebook page.

US Coast Guard used to have 12 Hamilton-class vessels. After more than 40 years of service, most Hamilton-class have been demobilised and transferred to the US partners. Legend-class vessels is replacing the Hamilton-class to serve in the US Coast Guard.

Only one Hamilton-class vessel is currently serving in the US Coast Guard, the Douglas Munro (WHEC 724, in Kodiak, Alaska), and the Mellon (WHEC 717) is about to be demobilised. 10 vessels were delivered to several nations, including Bangladesh (2 vessels), Nigeria (2 vessels), Philippines (3 vessels), Sri Lanka (1 vessel), and Vietnam (2 vessels).

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