Royal Navy of Oman hosts U.S., France, U.K. for exercises

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Over ten ships from four nations are participating in the annual, Royal Navy of Oman-hosted exercise Khunjar Haad that takes place in the Gulf of Oman.

Ships from the Royal Navy of Oman are joined by U.S., French and Royal Navy ships in gunnery and air defense exercises aimed at maintaining the sailors’ proficiency in air and missile defense and onboard weapons systems handling.

Additionally, sailors will take part in vertical on-deck rescue (VOD) exercises by helicopter to increase proficiency and time improvement during rescue operations; maritime interdiction operations; visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) operations to increase and maintain proficiency in boarding vessels that may harbor illegal weapons and drugs; and diving operations to promote efficiency underwater.

“Khunjar Haad is one of many exercises with the Royal Navy of Oman and other partner nations designed to test our Sailors with unique challenges in mine countermeasures. The level of multi-national integration demonstrated during this exercise is inspiring and is a testament to the hard work being done here,” said Capt. Eric Wirstrom, commodore of Commander Task Force (CTF) 52. “These exercises strengthen our solid relationships and bring us together towards the shared goal of free flow of commerce.”

Participating ships include U.S. Navy’s Avenger-class MCM ship USS Dextrous and coastal patrol ships USS Monsoon and USS Squall.

The Royal Navy is represented by Daring-class air-defense destroyer HMS Daring, Sandown-class MCM vessel HMS Bangor, HMS Middleton (M34) and Lyme Bay.

Royal Navy of Oman has deployed Khareef-class corvette Al Shamikh (Q40), patrol vessel Al Batinah and Al Bushra class patrol craft Al Bushra while the French Marine Nationale participates with anti-air frigate FS Forbin (D620).

“It is a privilege to be part of Khunjar Haad,” said Capt. Kim Watts, commander of U.K. Bay-class auxiliary landing ship dock RFA Lyme Bay (L3007). “It is important to continue learning and sharing knowledge with our partner nations through exercises to strengthen our mutual ability in addressing threats to the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce.”

Also operating in the Gulf of Oman, U.S. Marines and Omani soldiers are participating in exercise Sea Soldier 17, led by U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and hosted by the Royal Army of Oman.

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