It is several years behind schedule, but the Royal Navy of Oman’s Khareef project for the design and build of three corvettes is nearing its conclusion. The navy’s new flagship, RNOV Al Shamikh, arrived at her new home at the Said bin Sultan Naval Base on 5 October after a six-week voyage. En route, the 2,660-tonne vessel conducted the first operational firing of her VL MICA anti-air missile system.
In the test at the French MoD’s test range off the coast of the Ile du Levant in the Mediterranean, the medium-range missile successfully intercepted and destroyed a very low altitude target simulating a sea-skimming anti-ship missile. Full acceptance is scheduled for mid-2014 after the ship has proved her capability in the high temperatures of the Gulf region.
The experience gained in dealing with technical issues that delayed completion of the sophisticated first-of-class has reduced the gaps in the hand-over periods, with Al Rahmani, second of the class, being delivered four months after the first. The last, Al Rasikh, is already undergoing sea trials ahead of her handover in Spring 2014.