Navy

Royal Navy Warships Hone Gulf Security Skills Off Oman

Three British ships took part in the exercise, which also included personnel from the US, Oman and France.

The Royal Navy has taken part in an annual training exercise off the coast of Oman, sharpening sailors' Gulf security skills. 

Frigate HMS Montrose, minehunter HMS Chiddingfold and support ship RFA Cardigan Bay, all based in Bahrain, took part in the eight-day exercise alongside personnel from Oman, the US and France.

Khunjar Hadd, Arabic for 'sharp dagger', is the principal test of the Royal Navy of Oman and its ability to work with its allies in the region on land, sea and air.

It included most aspects of 21st-century naval warfare, from gunnery serials and formation sailing manoeuvres to exercises with French Air Force and Royal Air Force of Oman fast jets. 

HMS Chiddingfold and her mother ship Cardigan Bay focused on the mine 'threat' beneath the waves, the Navy said.

Chiddingfold searched 10 miles of sea lines for mines, finding and dealing with two dummy variants.

Lieutenant Jason Rogers, HMS Chiddinfold's Operations Officer, said: "The exercise was extremely useful for the mine warfare department.

HMS Montrose tests her 30mm gun during the exercise (Picture: Royal Navy).

"The crew worked hard to maintain their skills throughout the execution of the entire exercise."

Embarked on RFA Cardigan Bay were the staff of the Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force, who direct and support all British mine warfare exercises and operations in the Gulf region.

Lieutenant Commander Max Wilmot, Chief-of-Staff, said the exercise proved the personnel's "ability to work with the US, French, and Omanis".

"These exercises also provide reassurance that the motorways of the sea are safe for personnel and merchant vessels to transit and allow us to conduct valuable defence engagement with our international partners," he said.

The highlight for HMS Montrose was participating in the air defence exercise - demonstrating her capability by fending off simulated attacks from French Rafales, Omani Typhoons and Hawks.

In a real-world scenario, the ship's Sea Ceptor missile system provides cover for more than 750 square miles of ocean – roughly the size of Oxfordshire.

Cover image: HMS Montrose refuels from USNS Big Horn while on the exercise off Oman (Picture: Royal Navy).