The Al Shamikh was launched in 2009 but experienced several problems and technical issues during construction. For example, there were several personal injuries during a test firing of the gun in 2012.
The various difficulties have significantly delayed delivery from the original date which was planned to be 2010. The two subsequent ships were to be delivered at six months intervals. The Al Shamikh is now expected to be commissioned in 2014.
Besides the Al Shamikh, the Al Rahmani and Al Rasikh have been launched and are currently conducting sea trials. Specifications of the diesel engine powered Khareef class include:
- Length of 99 m
- Beam of 14.6 m
- Draft of 4.1 m
- Displacement is 2660 tonnes
- Speed of 25 knots
- Range of 4500 miles
- Endurance of 21 days
The three ships will be used in several roles including:
- Surveillance of maritime areas including Exclusive Economic Zones
- Disaster relief operations
- Special Operations
- Search and Rescue
- MM40 Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missiles with a range of 180 km
- Vertically launched Mica surface-to-air missiles
- One Oto Melara 76/62 mm super rapid gun
- Two MSI DS30M 30mm guns
The Khareef class comes equipped with a flight deck and a hangar with maintenance facilities that can support and accommodate a medium-sized helicopters with a weight of up to 12 t.
Last December, Oman also agreed to purchase twelve Typhoon fighter aircraft and eight Hawk trainer aircraft in a £2.5 billion ($4 billion) deal for delivery by 2017.