Australian Embassy


DATE: 22 September 2009
SUBJECT: Defence Cooperation

Australian Warship HMAS Darwin to visit Ho Chi Minh City

HCMC-Australian Navy warship HMAS DARWIN is to pay a diplomatic visit Vietnam from 28 September to 2 October 2009. The tour is expected to strengthen the goodwill and nation to nation ties between Australia and Vietnam through personal relationships established during the port visits.

HMAS DARWIN will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City with a total of 206 officers and crew aboard. The crew will meet with senior officers and sailors from the Vietnamese People’s Navy. The crew will also participate in a friendly sporting activity and play Australian Rules Football against the Vietnam Swans at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Ho Chi Minh City Campus. While in Ho Chi Minh City, the crew intend to conduct charity work as well as explore the beautiful country of Vietnam.

Colonel Stuart Dodds, Australian Defence Attaché in Vietnam stated, “Since the establishment of Defence Relations in 1999, fifteen Royal Australian Navy ships have paid goodwill visits to Vietnam and these visits have been one of the highlights in the defence relations between the two countries. I am confident that this year, HMAS Darwin will have another successful visit and the crew will be able to explore some of this beautiful country, meet with the friendly Vietnamese people and enjoy sporting competition and professional interaction with fellow sailors”.

HMAS DARWIN is commanded by Commander Christopher Smith, CSM, Royal Australian Navy. HMAS DARWIN is a long-range escort frigate that undertakes roles including area air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. The ship is capable of countering simultaneous threats from the air, surface and sub-surface.

HMAS DARWIN 's principal weapons are the Standard medium range anti-aircraft missile and Harpoon anti-ship missile, both of which are launched from the Mk 13 launcher on the forecastle. A 76 mm gun to counter both aircraft and surface threats is fitted forward of the funnel and one 20 mm Phalanx close-in weapon system for anti-missile defence is located above the helicopter hangars.

For long range anti-submarine tasks, HMAS DARWIN is equipped with a flight deck and hangars for two Seahawk helicopters. The Sikorsky S-70B-2 Seahawk is an all weather, twin engine, 3 crew helicopter. Its primary role is Undersea Warfare for which it carries a range of sonobuoys and can deliver up to two torpedoes. Other roles include over the horizon targeting, surveillance, boarding support, Search and Rescue (SAR) and utility operations. Its sensors include Radar, Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) and a Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD). For close-in anti-submarine defence the ship is fitted with two Mk 32 triple torpedo tubes.

The ship's sensor package includes long range radars for air and surface surveillance, electronic warfare surveillance sensors and the Australian Nulka Anti-Ship Missile Defence system. HMAS DARWIN is also fitted with the Electro Optical Tracking System (EOTS) with combined optical and infra-red sensors for detection and tracking. An Australian software based command and control system processes information as well as target data linked from other ships and aircraft.

HMAS DARWIN have been deployed to the Persian Gulf a record five times in 1990, 1991, 1992, 2002 and 2004. She was deployed to East Timor (Timor-Leste) in 1999 and was also involved in operations in the Solomon Islands in 2001.

In this 10th anniversary year of the bilateral defence relationship between the Australian Defence Force and the Vietnamese People's Army, it is particularly pleasing that Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City have been able to host another Australian ship visit. This is further evidence of the continued growth in Defence relations between the two countries.