Airbus Military's first of eight C295 medium transport and maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) on order for the Royal Air Force of Oman is due to enter flight testing at the company's San Pablo site near Seville on 14 May.
Oman ordered five transports and three MPA in May 2012, as replacements for its aged Shorts Skyvans, with its deal including personnel training. The first of its new aircraft entered the final assembly line in Spain on 27 February.
Once delivered, the new maritime patrol platforms will undertake reconnaissance and anti-piracy missions around the Gulf of Hormuz and other coastal regions, and conduct anti-pollution and exclusive economic zone patrols.
An original 16 Skyvans were introduced by Oman from the late 1960s, with its fleet having been reduced to a current strength of five by 2009, operating with the air force's 5 Sqn from Salalah. Three of these were modified locally to perform maritime patrol and reconnaissance duties, with the Seavan aircraft (one pictured above) flown from Seeb by 2 Sqn.