BAE Systems hands over the Al Rasikh, the third of three new warships, to the Royal Navy of Oman. (BAE Systems)
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DUBAI — The Royal Navy of Oman on Thursday received the third of three new 99-meter corvette warships from BAE systems in their naval expansion project “Khareef.”
The Khareef-class corvettes are equipped to defend against surface and air threats with stealth features to operate undetected.
The boat uses electric propulsion to provide maneuverability and is capable of undertaking a range of operations, including coastal patrols, disaster relief, search and rescue, and deterrence operations.
The new boat, Al Rasikh, which raised the Omani national flag for the first time, is set to sail from Naval Base Portsmouth to Devonport, England, where its crew will complete a training program with the Royal Navy and BAE Systems.
Project Khareef, signed in 2007, covered the design and construction of three state-of-the-art 99-meter corvettes for the Royal Navy of Oman. Al Shamikh, the first of the three ships, embarked on its first sea trials in December 2010.
According to BAE officials, Al Shamikh will begin its final sea acceptance trials in Oman this summer during which it will demonstrate its ability to perform in high temperatures.
Al Rahmani, the second ship in the class, was launched in July 2010 and the Al Rasikh was launched in March 2011.
The last of the three corvettes was formally named in a launching ceremony at Portsmouth Naval Base June 27, 2011.
“This is a proud day for the Royal Navy of Oman as it takes ownership of the third Khareef-class corvette, which has been completed to the highest standard. Her sister ships in Oman have already proven themselves to be incredibly capable, which is testament to the teamwork and dedication of all those involved in this project from the Royal Navy of Oman and BAE Systems,” said Mick Ord, managing director of BAE Systems Naval Ships.
According to Michele Cosentino, a former Italian Navy commodore, Arabian Gulf maritime naval forces that field and manage offshore patrol vessels, corvettes and frigates are the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq.
The Omani Navy employs the more highly capable offshore patrol vessel and corvette type ships, he added.
“The Khareef program was initially related to the construction of three Al-Shamik-class OPVs that are designed and built in the UK, but they were recently reclassified as corvettes,” he wrote in an article he authored for the Offshore Patrol Vessels Conference in Abu Dhabi last year.
“Although their hull is based on a British-derived OPV, the Al-Shamikhs displace 2,550 tons, have stealthy features and are equipped with anti-ship and anti-air missiles, other than a 76mm main gun.” ■