The Hanoitimes - This is the first time Australian Defence Force’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour, which commenced in 2017, has included Vietnam.
Two Australian Navy ships, HMAS Canberra and HMAS Newcastle, on May 7 started a four-day visit Cam Ranh port in the central province of Khanh Hoa as Vietnam seeks to diversify its defense relations.
The goodwill visit is part of the Australian Defence Force’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour (IPE19). This is the first time IPE, which commenced in 2017, has included Vietnam. IPE 19 is also visiting other key regional partners including Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.
Landing Helicopter Dock HMAS Canberra Arriving at Cam Ranh port. Photo courtesy: Australian embassy in Hanoi
HMA Ships Canberra and Newcastle bring over 800 Australian personnel, who come from the Navy, Army and Air Force as well as representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
IPE commanders will have courtesy calls to Khanh Hoa People’s Committee and Naval Zone 4 Command. The port visit will encompass a wide range of activities including military-to-military engagement, professional experience sharing on ship and humanitarian disaster relief operations, and friendly sporting events.
The Australian Army Band will perform in public in the evening of May 7 at Tue Tinh Park, Nha Trang city. The ships’ companies will also take part in other community engagement activities including interactions with Khanh Hoa province school children.
“IPE19 provides an opportunity for Vietnam and Australia to deepen our bilateral relationship through building a shared understanding and trust. This is also an excellent occasion which promotes people-to-people links. Australia welcomes opportunities to expand our defense cooperation with Vietnam and IPE19 visit reaffirms Vietnam is a very important partner in the region,” Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick stated.
HMAS Newcastle arriving at Cam Ranh port. Photo courtesy: Australian embassy in Hanoi
HMAS Canberra, one of the two Canberra-class amphibious assault ships and the largest ever built for the Royal Australian Navy, has a dual role. It provides one of the most capable and sophisticated air-land-sea amphibious deployment systems in the world, and gives the Australian government the capacity to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief within the Indo-Pacific region.
The ship is 230 meters long and more than 30 meters high. The 27,000-ton warship can land a force of over 1,000 personnel by helicopter and water craft, along with weapons, ammunition, vehicles and stores as well as humanitarian aid as required. She can reach speeds of up to 20 knots (35km/h) over a maximum range of approximately 6,000 km.
Meanwhile, HMAS Newcastle is a guided missile frigate, a long range escort vessel, capable of air defense, surface and undersea warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction.