The decommissioned USCGC John Midgett of the US Coast Guard is repainting the hull, in preparation for repainting the Vietnam Coast Guard’s new hull number. She will be handed over to Vietnam in the next few months.

According to the latest information from the Facebook accounts of former sailors of the John Midgett vessel (WHEC 726) of the US Coast Guard on May 18, repainting of the ship is underway in the port of Seattle, Washington.

John Midgett was repainted to prepare for handover to Vietnam
John Midgett was repainted to prepare for handover to Vietnam

Along with that was the dismantling of Phalanx close-in weapon system at the stern, and SPS-40 long range air search radar system (maximum reconnaissance range of 450 km, at the top of the signal tower behind the ship). After dismantling the Phalanx and SPS-40 radar, the main weapon of the John Midgett is only a 76 mm Oto Melara cannon at the bow and a guided radar, similar to the CSB 8020 that Vietnam Coast Guard had received in 2017 (former name was Morgenthau).

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Earlier, the handover ceremony of John Midgett to the Vietnam Coast Guard, scheduled to take place in late March, had to be canceled due to the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic. And from then until now, the repainting of the ship had to be halted. Currently, due to the epidemic situation is reduced, the work on repairing and refurbishing the ship continues. It is expected that after completing the dismantling of important equipment from the ship, the US will receive and train Vietnamese sailors to operate the ship, and then they will steer the ship home in the next few months.

Dismantling of Phalanx system

After handing over John Midgett to Vietnam, the US Coast Guard had only two of the 12 Hamilton-class high endurance cutters, Douglas Munro (WHEC 724) and Mellon (WHEC 717). It is widely believed that Vietnam has proposed that the United States transfer these 3 ships. So far Vietnam has received one and is about to receive John Midgett.

The United States provides patrol vessels to help promote open and free Indo-Pacific

On May 8, the State Department’s website commented that the EDA program helped promote a free and open Pacific-Indian Ocean region. The article said the US Coast Guard’s decommissioned vessels provided to Asian countries through the EDA program have greatly contributed to maritime patrol and law enforcement.

Dismantle SPS-40 aerial search radar

For example, on April 10, Sri Lankan naval ship SLNS Samudura blocked a drug smuggling at sea, seizing nearly 300 kilograms of heroin and 50 kilograms of ice drug, worth more than $17 million. In March, the same ship seized the largest drug trafficking case with 400 kg of heroin and 100 kg of ice drug, worth $33.5 million. The SLNS Samudura is the former Courageous that was previously delivered to Sri Lanka in 2004 under the EDA program.

In 2019, the Sri Lankan navy received from the United States a Hamilton-class patrol vessel, the Sherman, and changed its name to SLNS Gajabahu. The Sri Lankan navy hopes to receive another one by 2021 under the EDA program.

John Midgett at the time before being repainted

Under the EDA program, the United States transfers redundant military equipment to several countries to help strengthen its capacity and expand relations with allies and partners. The US Department of State will carefully review all proposed cases of arms acquisition, to ensure they support US foreign policy and national security goals. States that accept US weapons must comply with the stated conditions of use and not transfer these weapons to other countries without the US consent.

In the Pacific – Indian Ocean, US Coast Guard patrol boats are also transferred to a number of other countries, helping to strengthen maritime security and law enforcement at sea. The Bangladesh navy, for example, accepts the Rush and Jarvis patrol vessels, both are Hamilton-class vessels and is currently the largest of the country’s navy. The Philippines received three Hamilton-class ships including the Hamilton, Dallas, Boutwell and was commissioned to the navy.

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