Royal Air Force of Oman
  • سلاح الجو السلطاني عمان
  • Silāḥ al-Jaww as-Sulṭāniy ‘Umān
Badge of the Royal Air Force of Oman
Founded1959; 63 years ago (1959)
Country Oman
TypeAir force
RoleAerial warfare
Part ofSultan of Oman's Armed Forces
Commanders
Commander-in-ChiefSultan Haitham bin Tariq
Commander of the Air ForceAir Vice-Marshal Khamis bin Hammad Al-Ghafri
Insignia
Fin flash
Flag
Aircraft flown
FighterF-16 Fighting Falcon, Eurofighter Typhoon
Helicopter(SuperLynx, NH-90, Bell429/Bell206)
TrainerBAe Hawk 103, Pilatus PC-9, PAC Super MFI-17 Mushshak
TransportC-130 Hercules, Airbus A320, Dornier 228

The Royal Air Force of Oman (Arabic: سلاح الجو السلطاني عمان, romanizedSilāḥ al-Jaww as-Sulṭāniy ‘Umān or RAFO) is the air arm of the Armed Forces of Oman.

History

Sultan of Oman's Air Force era

The Sultan of Oman's Air Force (SOAF) was formed with British personnel and aircraft in March 1959. The first aircraft were two Scottish Aviation Pioneers transferred from the Royal Air Force. The first armed aircraft was the Percival Provost T52.[1]

In 1968 the SOAF received the first of 24 BAC Strikemaster jet trainer and light strike aircraft for operation against insurgents in the Dhofar region. In 1974 the SOAF was expanded with orders for the Britten Norman Defender, BAC One-Eleven, BAC VC10 and 32 Hawker Hunter ground attack aircraft. In 1977 Jaguar International joined the SOAF, followed in the 1980s by the BAe Hawk.[1]

Royal Air Force of Oman era

A Royal Air Force of Oman Jaguar intercepting an Il-38 in 1987
A Royal Air Force of Oman Jaguar intercepting an Il-38 in 1987

In 1990 the SOAF was renamed the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO).[1] In 1993 and 1994 the RAFO replaced its Hawker Hunters with four BAE Hawk Mk 103 fighter-trainers and 12 single-seat Hawk Mk 203, equipped with Westinghouse APG-66H radar, as light ground attack/interceptors. In September 1997 after the evaluation of new combat aircraft the RAFO decided to upgrade and extend the service lives of its remaining 17 SEPECAT Jaguar ground attack fighters until the second decade of the 21st century. A contract was placed with the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to upgrade the avionics of the Jaguar aircraft for $40 million. In 2005 deliveries started of the F-16, equipped with improved GPS/INS. The aircraft can carry a further batch of advanced missiles; the AGM-88 HARM missile, JDAM, JSOW and WCMD. Block 50 aircraft are powered by the F110-GE-129 while the Block 52 jets use the F100-PW-229.

On 3 August 2010 the USA Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible sale of 18 F-16 Block 50/52 to Oman in a contract worth US$3.5 Billion. In addition to the new fighters, the contract included upgrading existing 12 F-16 C/D in the RAFO inventory.[2] On 14 December 2011 it was announced that Oman had agreed to buy an additional 12 F-16C/D Block 50s to join the 12 F-16s C/Ds already in service.[3]

Oman was considering the purchase of either Eurofighter Typhoon or JAS 39 Gripen aircraft,[4] but on 21 December 2012 a £2.5 billion deal was signed in Muscat to supply RAFO with 12 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets and eight BAE Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft, the delivery was complete in 2018.[5]

Bases

Royal Air Force of Oman BAC 1-11 Model 485GD at RIAT 2008, UK
Royal Air Force of Oman BAC 1-11 Model 485GD at RIAT 2008, UK
Installation Unit with aircraft type Notes
RAFO Adam No. 8 Squadron with Eurofighter Typhoon
RAFO Khasab No. 14 Squadron (det) with NH90-TTH
RAFO Musannah No. 14 Squadron (det) with NH90-TTH
No. 15 Squadron with NH90-TTH & Super Lynx Mk.120
RAFO Masirah No. 1 Squadron with Super Mushshak & PC-9(M)
No. 6 Squadron with Hawk 103, Hawk 103A & Hawk 203
No. 15 Squadron (det) with Super Lynx Mk.120
RAFO Muscat No. 2 Squadron with SC7-3M-4022 Seavan Air base co-located within Muscat International Airport. Shifted to Mussanah.
No. 4 Squadron with A320-214CJ
No. 14 Squadron with NH90-TTH & SA330J
No. 16 Squadron with C-130H & C-130J
RAFO Salalah No. 3 Squadron with NH90-TTH, Bell 206B3, Bell 429 & Super Lynx Mk.120
No. 5 Squadron with C295M
RAFO Thumrait No. 18 Squadron with F-16C-50-CF & F-16D-50-CF
No. 20 Squadron with F-16C-50-CF & F-16D-50-CF

Aircraft

Current inventory

A C-130H Hercules on take off
A C-130H Hercules on take off
A Eurocopter EC225LP Super Puma
A Eurocopter EC225LP Super Puma
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Typhoon United Kingdom multirole 12[6]
BAE Hawk 200 United Kingdom light multirole 203 21[6] 11 103’s provide LIFT
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole F-16C 23[6] 6 F-16D’s provide conversion training
Maritime Patrol
CASA C-295 Spain maritime patrol 4[6]
Transport
Airbus A320 France VIP transport 2[7]
CASA C-295 Spain transport 4[6]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130H 3[6]
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlift 2[6] one aircraft is a C-130J-30[8]
Helicopters
Westland Lynx United Kingdom ASW Super Lynx 120 13[6]
NHIndustries NH90 France utility / transport 18[6]
Eurocopter EC225 France VIP transport 6[9] flown for the Oman Royal Flight
Trainer Aircraft
Bell 206 United States rotorcraft trainer 4[6]
Bell 429 United States rotorcraft trainer 5[6]
Pilatus PC-9 Switzerland trainer 12[6]
PAC Super Mushshak Pakistan trainer 7[6]

Retired

Previous aircraft flown by the Air Force included the SEPECAT Jaguar S/B, Hawker Hunter, BAC Strikemaster, Douglas DC-8, Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, Skyvan 3M, BAe BAC-1-11, Scheibe Super-Falke, and the Bell 214B helicopter[10][11]

Commanders

The first Omani to command the Air Force was Air Vice-Marshal Talib bin Meran bin Zaman Al-Raeesi who was appointed in June 1990.[12]

References

  1. ^ a b c "Royal Air Force of Oman". Archived from the original on 9 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ Hoyle, Craig. "Omani F-16 deal means continued wait for Eurofighter." Archived 9 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine Flight International via flightglobal.com, 14 December 2011. Retrieved: 18 December 2011.
  4. ^ Royal Air Force of Oman, JAS 39 Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon Archived 6 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Tactical Report (2010-06-03). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  5. ^ BBC News - BAE Systems wins £2.5bn Oman Hawk and Typhoon contract Archived 18 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine. Bbc.co.uk (2012-12-21). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "World Air Forces 2022". Flightglobal. 2022. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  7. ^ "Royal Air Force of Oman orders two Airbus A320 Corporate Jets". airbus.com. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  8. ^ "Oman gets ready to induct C-130J". arabianaerospace.aero. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Oman Royal Flight". .helis.com. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Aeroflight  » Oman. Air Force". aeroflight.co.uk. Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  11. ^ "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 76" (PDF). flightglobal.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 August 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  12. ^ "The Evolution of Oman's Royal Air Force". rafmuseum.org.uk. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.