Second corvette to sail for Oman

Designed to support navy in protecting international waters

A 99 metre corvette being built for the Royal Navy of Oman (RNO)was commissioned at the Portsmouth Naval Base yesterday. Al Rahmani is the second of three corvettes being built by BAE Systems for the sultanate after a contract was signed in 2007. The ships have the capacity to serve for long periods overseas and are designed to support the navy in protecting international waters and keeping surveillance over Oman's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), BAE said.

The first ship, Al Shamikh, was commissioned in July last year and will set sail for its first sea trials this year. Yesterday's commissioning was attended by British and Omani dignitaries. "We have been building ships for the RNO for over 30 years and are proud of the close working relationship we have developed," said Alan Johnston, the managing director of BAE Systems's surface ships division. BAE has been doing business in the Middle East since the 1950s, initially with military aircraft such as fighter jets for Saudi Arabia and trainer jets for the UAE.

The company now focuses heavily on integrating homeland security systems. In the UAE, the company has a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Ship Building to provide naval support in the Gulf. It has held discussions for joint ventures with Al Taif Technical Services, which is owned by Mubadala Development, a strategic investment company owned by the Abu Dhabi Government, and maintains and repairs UAE army vehicles.