Note to self: Don’t tick off Oman.
Portsmouth, United Kingdom: Al Shamikh, the first of three ships being built by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO) has embarked on her first sea trials in the Solent.
Departing from the Company’s Portsmouth facility, a combined BAE Systems and RNO crew is putting the ship through her paces, undertaking extensive platform testing for speed, propulsion and manoeuvrability in the first demonstration of the ship’s capability at sea.
The corvette is a flexible and highly efficient platform, equipped to defend against both surface and air threats. Al Shamikh will be used to protect Omani territorial waters, conducting coastal patrols in peacetime, with the ability to conduct search and rescue, as well as disaster relief, while providing a highly sophisticated ocean going capability for use in deterrent operations during times of tension.
Al Shamikh is part of the Project Khareef contract, secured in 2007, for the design and build of three 99 metre corvettes for the RNO. Highlighting the company’s continued commitment to providing through-life support and services to its customers, the contract also includes training for RNO personnel, as well as an initial logistics support package for the ships.
Following Al Shamikh’s initial sea trials, she will return to Portsmouth before undergoing further integration and testing, with weapons trials set to take place in the New Year. The first of class is expected to be handed over to the RNO in 2011, following which the crew will undergo the UK Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training before the ship sails to Oman for warm weather trials. Al Rahmani, the second ship in the class, was launched in July 2010 and will undertake sea trials in 2011, whilst the third ship, Al Rasikh, will be launched in March 2011.[Source: BAE Systems]