Update: 11:57 | 26/10/2018
Vietnam is looking to share experiences and enhance its naval capabilities with participation in the ongoing China-ASEAN drill.
The first ever ASEAN-China maritime exercise was launched on Monday with the participation of eight warships, including Vietnamese frigate 015 Tran Hung Dao, and 1,200 soldiers. The drill, taking place off the coast of Zhanjiang City in China's Guangdong Province, is an event aimed at increasing stability and relieving tension in the region.
Vietnamese navy ship Tran Hung Dao (L) docks near Chinese navy ships at a military port in Zhanjiang, in China's southern Guangdong Province on October 22, 2018.
In addition to Vietnamese and Chinese navies, naval ships from Singapore, Brunei, Thailand
This year's exercise includes tactical drills, mapping, field and ship formation exercises. The Vietnamese crew will also get to enjoy entertainment events including sports and cultural exchanges with sailors from other Southeast Asian countries and China.
Prior to its participation in the China event, the 015 Tran Hung Dao 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
In addition to the foreign exchange activities, the journey has also helped the Vietnamese navy assess the commanding capability, weapon operation skills and technical equipment, military officials said.
The 015 Tran Hung Dao is a Gepard-class frigate built by Russia for the Vietnam People's Navy and commissioned in February this year. It is equipped with stealth technology, angular shells and radar absorption paint to minimize radar reflectivity upon facing enemy surveillance systems, as well as jamming and modern electronic warfare systems.
Following the joint naval exercise with China, ASEAN members have agreed to hold the association's first-ever naval exercise with the U.S. next year, according to Singaporean Defense Minister Ng Eng Sen. The time and location of this joint exercise is yet to be determined.