Fearless: Oman’s New Patrol Boats from Singapore
ST Kinetics subsidiary Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd. has won a EUR 534.8 million (about USD $700 million) competitive contract from the Ministry of Defence of the Sultanate of Oman, to bolster that country’s inshore and mid-range patrol fleet. The 4 patrol vessels will based on ST Marine’s Fearless 75 Class of 75m ships, which are in turn derived from Singapore’s own fleet of 12 Fearless Class 55m boats. The project will begin immediately, with the first vessel expected to be delivered in Q2 2015 and the final vessel in Q3 2016.
ST Marine’s Fearless boats were once planned to have missile Fast Attack Craft capabilities, but Singapore’s smaller 500t boats ended up limited to an Oto Melara 76mm gun, torpedoes, and a Simbad twin-launcher for very short range Mistral air defense missiles. Oman’s larger vessels will add a landing pad for helicopters or UAVs, and could choose to introduce additional offensive capabilities like anti-ship missiles, which are explicitly specified [PDF] as options in the firm’s marketing materials. Neither party is talking about those choices, yet, or about the replacements for the Israeli equipment used in Singapore’s boats. Even without naval strike missiles, however, the new vessels will add punch to Oman’s presence guarding the tense Strait of Hormuz, the wider Persian Gulf, and/or to the country’s efforts against piracy around its Indian Ocean shores.