BAE Khareef Corvette - Al Shamikh photo BAE Systems
09/10/2013 by Paul Fiddian - Armed Forces International's Lead Reporter
The Royal Navy of Oman has received its first Khareef-class corvette from contractor BAE Systems Surface Ships. Named Al Shamikh, it's the lead ship of three such vessels being built within the Project Khareef programme.
Al Shamikh was first launched in July 2009 and entered sea trials the following year. The two other Khareef-class corvettes, Al Rahmani and Al Rasikh, were launched in July 2010 and June 2011 respectively.
Al Shamikh's inauguration into the Royal Navy of Oman took place during a ceremony, in the presence of the British Ambassador to Oman and various defence officials including Sayyid Badr bin Saud al Busaidi - the nation's Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs.
"Today we celebrate the arrival of Al Shamikh into the waters of the sultanate, the first ship of Project Khareef, which would contribute to the strengthening of military capabilities and capacities of the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) which enjoys the Royal care and attention of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces", he was quoted as having said in BAE Systems' Omani corvette delivery press release.
The Khareef-class corvette construction programme has been taking place at BAE Systems Surface Ships' shipyard, located at Portsmouth Naval Base. Each is 325 feet long and displaces 2,660 tonnes of water.
Power is supplied by a pair of MTU diesel engines, giving a maximum speed of 28 knots, while their maximum range is 4,500 nautical miles and their endurance, 21 days.
The Al Shamikh, Al Rahmani and Al Rasikh can each accommodate a single medium-sized helicopter on their decks and are armed with a single 76mm Oto Melara cannon, a pair of 30mm MSI DS30M 30mm cannons and eight MM-40 Block III Exocet surface-to-surface missiles.
Omani Navy Corvettes
The new Omani navy corvettes will be tasked with numerous roles including designated sea-zone protection, long-endurance surveillance patrols, search and rescue, humanitarian aid and special operations.
The three corvettes all represent part of the Royal Navy of Oman's future procurement policy. Ultimately, they'll be joined in service by a new research vessel and four Al-Ofouq-class patrol vessels.