Naval News reports that,
The Vietnamese government signed an agreement with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) on July 28 to finance a project to build six patrol vessels for the Vietnamese Coast Guard (VCG). The vessels, based on the Aso-class of the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) will be built in Japan.
There are some things that are noteworthy here.
- Japan has started providing assistance to many of its neighbors and helping to strengthen their coast guards seems to be a favorite method. Helping the Philippines here and here. Malaysia here.
- In this case it is in the form of a very low interest loan (0.1%) with generous repayment terms, to have ships constructed in Japan (good for the Japanese shipbuilding industry).
- The speed of construction is also noteworthy, six ship with the last to be delivered Oct. 2025.
- The cost of each of these 79.0 m (259 ft 2 in) cutters is about the same as that for our Webber class WPCs.
The ASO class has not been built since 2006, but they are smaller and presumably cheaper than the larger classes of Japanese Coast Guard large patrol vessels (PL) that followed. The class was built shortly after the Battle of Amami-Ōshima and apparently incorporated lessons from that engagement including a heavier weapon, the Bofors 40mm/70, and ballistic protection for selected areas of the ship. They are also relatively fast at over 30 knots.