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.
Scott Jamieson, International Programmes Director at BAE Systems’ Surface Ships division, said: “As first in class, Al Shamikh’s trials mark a pivotal stage in the programme. It highlights the significant progress that has been made and clearly demonstrates the effective close working relationship we have developed with the Royal Navy of Oman and our continued commitment to deliver enhanced naval capability to our customer.”
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.
BAE Systems is a global defence, security and aerospace company with approximately 107,000 employees worldwide. The Company delivers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics, security, information technology solutions and customer support services. In 2009 BAE Systems reported sales of £22.4 billion (US$ 36.2 billion).