This is the latest chapter in Vietnam’s bid to upgrade its naval strength.
Vietnam is set to receive a high endurance cutter named the USCGC Morngethau from the U.S. Coast Guard under the latter’s Foreign Assistance Act, which allows the transfer of excess defense equipment as a grant to friendly, foreign governments, the Naval Today reported.
The U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the USCGC Morngethau during a ceremony at a military base in Honolulu on Tuesday, according to the site.
Based on a report on the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website, the transfer of the patrol ship follows a request made by Vietnam to procure ships from the U.S. in October 2016.
During a visit to Vietnam by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in 2015, Carter said the U.S. would provide a $18 million package to the Vietnam Coast Guard to purchase a number of patrol boats.
The USCGC Morgenthau is a 378-foot Hamilton-class cutter that saw action in the Vietnam War, as well as several drug busts and rescue missions.
The ship has a maximum speed of 53.7km/h (33.3 miles/h), a 22,500 km traveling range and can operate for 45 consecutive days.
In 1977, Morgenthau became the first cutter to permanently assign female crewmembers, which paved the way for numerous women to serve aboard Coast Guard cutters all over the U.S.
In the fall of 1996, Morgenthau was the first U.S. Coast Guard cutter to deploy to the Arabian Gulf. Participating in Operation Vigilant Sentinel, Morgenthau enforced Iraq’s compliance with United Nations sanctions.
Vietnam has already bought six Kilo-class submarines and Su-30MK2 naval fighter-bombers from Russia as part of its naval modernization drive.
The country is also expecting the delivery of two Gepard frigates from Russia in the second half of 2017 following a contract signed in 2012.