PRVSN Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-01)
|Career (Socialist Republic of Vietnam)|
|Name:||PRVSN Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-01)|
|Namesake:||Pham Ngu Lao, 13th century Trần Dynasty general|
|Builder:||Lake Washington Shipyard, Houghton, Washington|
|Laid down:||23 July 1941|
|Launched:||8 March 1942|
|Status:||Unknown; inactive and probably decommissioned|
|Notes:||Served as United States Navy aircraft catapult training ship USS Absecon (AVP-23) 1943-1947
Served as U.S. Coast Guard cutter USS Absecon (WAVP-374), later WHEC-374, 1949-1972
Served as Republic of Vietnam Navy patrol vessel RVNS Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-15) 1972-1975
|Displacement:||1,766 tons (standard)
2,800 tons (full load)
|Length:||310 ft 8 in (94.69 m)|
|Beam:||41 ft 1 in (12.52 m)|
|Draft:||13 ft 5 in (4.09 m)|
|Installed power:||6,080 horsepower (4.54 megawatts) maximum
3,540 horsepower (2.64 megawatts) sustained
|Propulsion:||2 x Fairbanks-Morse 38D8-1/8-10 diesel engines, 2 shafts|
|Speed:||approximately 18 knots (maximum)|
|Range:||20,000 nautical miles (37,040 kilometers) at 12 knots|
|Raytheon SPS-21 surface-search radar
RCA/GE Mark 26 fire-control radar
|Armament:||When captured in 1975:
1 × U.S. Navy 5-inch/38-caliber (127-millimeter) dual-purpose gun
2 x United States 81-mm mortars
Several U.S. machine guns
Added in mid-1980s:
2 x Soviet SS-N-2 "Styx" anti-ship cruise missile launchers (aft)
2 x Soviet quad SA-N-5 "Grail" surface-to-air-missile launchers
3 x Soviet 37-mm/63-caliber guns
2 x Soviet twin 20-mm gun mounts
All missile armament probably removed in 1990s
PRVSN Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-01) is a patrol vessel of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam's Vietnamese People's Navy captured from South Vietnam in 1975 and in active service until perhaps as recently as 2000.
- 1 History
- 2 Vietnamese People's Navy service
- 3 Notes
- 4 References
Pham Ngu Lao was laid down in the United States by Lake Washington Shipyard at Houghton, Washington, as the United States Navy Barnegat-class seaplane tender USS Absecon, but was converted during construction into an aircraft catapult training ship. Commissioned in January 1943, she served in Florida waters, training battleship and cruiser floatplane pilots in catapult launches and serving as a mobile target for torpedo practice by U.S. Navy torpedo planes. She was decommissioned in March 1947 and placed in reserve.
United States Coast Guard service 1946-1972
In 1949, the U.S. Navy loaned Absecon to the United States Coast Guard, which commissioned her as the Casco-class Coast Guard cutter USCGC Absecon (WAVP-374). Until 1972, she operated primarily in the North Atlantic Ocean on ocean stations, and also conducted search-and-rescue and law-enforcement operations. In 1966 she was reclassified as a high endurance cutter and redesignated WHEC-374, and was transferred permanently to the Coast Guard.
Absecon was transferred to South Vietnam in 1972 and was commissioned into the Republic of Vietnam Navy as frigate RVNS Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-15) Pham Ngu Lao fought during the final years of the Vietnam War, patrolling the South Vietnamese coast and providing gunfire support to South Vietnamese forces ashore.
Capture by North Vietnam and commissioning
South Vietnam collapsed in late April 1975, bringing the Vietnam War to an end. Pham Ngu Lao was seized by North Vietnam in May 1975. North and South Vietnam unified to form the new Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and the ship was commissioned into the unified country's Vietnamese People's Navy as patrol vessel PRVSN Pham Ngu Lao (HQ-01).
When captured, Pham Ngu Lao was armed with the U.S. weaponry that South Vietnam had relied upon. The Vietnam People' Navy appears to have retained its major components, such as the 5-inch 38-caliber (127-millimeter) gun and 81-mm mortars. In the mid-1980s, Soviet-made 37-mm and 25-mm guns were installed for close-in defense, as were two Soviet-made SS-N-2 "Styx" anti-ship cruise missile launchers and two Soviet-made quad SA-N-5 "Grail" surface-to-air-missile launchers. However, all the missile launchers are thought to have been removed in the 1990s.
Activity and current status
Pham Ngu Lao is believed to have remained active into the 1990s and perhaps until as recently as 2000, although her status in the secretive Vietnamese People's Navy always has been murky. She is now inactive and believed almost certainly to be decommissioned, although her current status is unknown.
- Other spellings encountered include Pham Ngu Lao.
- Per Janes's Fighting Ships 1973-1974, p. 592, "HQ" is an abbreviation for "Hai Quan", Vietnamese for "Navy".
- Per Janes's Fighting Ships 1973-1974, p. 592, "HQ" is an abbreviation for "Hai Quan", Vietnamese for "Navy", used for all Republic of Vietnam Navy ships.
- Jane's Fighting Ships 1994-95, p. 852
- Jane's Fighting Ships 2004-05, p. 908.
- Jane's Fighting Ships 1980-81, p. 715; Jane's Fighting Ships 1994-95, p. 852; Jane's Fighting Ships 2004-05, p. 908.
- Jane's Fighting Ships 2004-05, p. 908; Jane's Fighting Ships 2008-09, p. 967
- NavSource Online: Service Ship Photo Archive: AVP-23 Absecon WAVP-374 / WHEC-374 Absecon
- This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
- Department of the Navy: Naval Historical Center: Online Library of Selected Images: U.S. Navy Ships: USS Absecon (AVP-23), 1943-1949
- The Inventory of VNN's Battle Ships Part 2
- Gray, Randal, Ed. Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1947-1982 Part II: The Warsaw Pact and Non-Aligned Nations. Annapolis, Maryland: Naval Institute Press, 1983. ISBN 0-87021-919-7.
- Moore, John, Captain, RN, FRGS, Ed. Jane's Fighting Ships 1973-1974. London: Jane's Yearbooks, 1973. No ISBN number.
- Moore, John, Captain, RN, Ed. Jane's Fighting Ships 1980-1981. New York: Jane's Publishing Inc., 1980. ISBN 0-531-03937-4.
- Sharpe, Richard, Captain, RN, Ed. Jane's Fighting Ships, 97th Edition, 1994-1995. Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group, 1994. ISBN 0-7106-1161-7.
- Saunders, Stephen, Commodore, RN, Ed. Jane's Fighting Ships, 107th Edition, 2004-2005. Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group, 2004. ISBN 0-7106-2623-1.
- Saunders, Stephen, Commodore, RN, Ed. Jane's Fighting Ships, 111th Edition, 2008-2009. Alexandria, Virginia: Jane's Information Group, 2004. ISBN 978-0-7106-2845-9.