Kuwait Air Force
The Kuwait Air Force (Arabic: القوات الجوية الكويتية Trans: al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya) is the air arm of the State of Kuwait. The Air Force headquarters is located at Al Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defence Brigade, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base. The Kuwait Air Force numbers approximately 2,500 officer and enlisted personnel. In founding age and historical operation, the Kuwaiti Air Force supersedes in seniority and is older than the Hereditary Constitutional monarchy of Kuwait, the Constitution of Kuwait and the National Assembly of Kuwait
The current air force started part of the Kuwaiti Public Security Department which operated a number of Austers in different configurations and two de Havilland DH.104 Doves. The Kuwait Air Force and Air Defence was formed in the course of 1961 following an intervention by the British that avoided Iraq to claim Kuwait as one of its provinces. The first aircraft to enter KAF service were four Whirlwind helicopters and six BAC/Hunting Jet Provost T.51s. This support from the UK would remain in place for a long time and 1964 was known for the arrival of the first Hawker Hunters. These would later be amended by more examples in 1969. The first DeHavilland Canada type to enter KAF service was the DHC-4 Caribou from which two arrived in 1963. The transport capacity would later be improved by the acquisition of an ex-RAF Argosy in 1969 and later, in 1971, by two Lockheed L-100-20 Hercules.
In the meantime the fighter force was given a boost by the procurement of twelve Lightning F53s and two T55 trainer versions that were delivered in the late 60s. The Strikemaster Mk.83s from which twelve were ordered were delivered in 1969. Between 1968 and 1977 two Bell 206's operated in KAF service and from November 1969, eight Augusta Bell 205s were delivered, replacing the aging Whirlwinds. Only five years after the delivery of the Lightnings, the KAF decided it needed a better serviceable aircraft. It had been using the Hunters and the Strikemasters in the interceptor and ground strike role, rather than the Lightnings. Finally in 1974 the Mirage F1 was selected as the new air defence fighter and a total of 27 Mirage F1CKs and seven Mirage F1BKs were ordered and delivered in two separate batches until 1983. The ground strike role would be filled in by the total of 36 Douglas (T)A-4KU Skyhawks that were ordered in 1974 and delivered during 1977. 24 SNIAS SA-342K Gazelles were delivered during the mid-70s and four were subsequently passed on to the Police Air Wing. Four L-100-30 Hercules transport aircraft were delivered in 1983, replacing the shorter L-100-20 version from which only one survived (the other crashed in France). Also in 1983, twelve Hawk T64 were ordered to fill the gap that the KAF had on training capacity. In 1988 the Air Force was baptised al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya (Kuwait Air Force). The lead-in-fighter-trainer that was selected, the Shorts Tucano T.52, would only be delivered in 1995. They were earmarked for delivery in 1990 but due to the outbreak of the Gulf War, deliveries were postponed.
Post Gulf War
After the Gulf War, the KAF underwent a reorganisation and both the Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and the Dassault Mirage F1s were soon phased out in favour of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. 32 F/A-18Cs and eight F/A-18D Hornets are flying with 9th Squadron and 25th Squadron from Ahmed al Jaber. The Mirage is withdrawn from use and in storage. Most of the remaining Skyhawks continued their operational life with the Brazilian Navy. The first six of sixteen ordered AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters were handed over to the Kuwait Air Force on 3 February 2006. The remaining ten aircraft were delivered thereafter. All the helicopters are pre-configured to carry the AN/APG-78 Longbow radar kits.
Lockheed Martin has received a $245 million contract from the U.S. Government for the Foreign Military Sale of 3 KC-130J tanker aircraft to Kuwait. The program will be managed by the U.S. Navy.The Kuwait Air Force's new KC-130Js will provide aerial refueling for its F/A-18 fleet and augment its current airlift fleet of three Lockheed Martin L-100s. Kuwait's KC-130Js also will perform air mobility, disaster relief and humanitarian missions throughout the world. Kuwait's first KC-130J delivery is scheduled for late 2013, with deliveries completed in early 2014. Using only wing and external tanks. In September 2010, Kuwait requested to purchase one Boeing C-17. The USA is to sell 60 Patriot (PAC-3) missiles, 20 launching stations, four radar systems and control stations, personnel training and training equipment, and spare parts to Kuwait in a deal worth an estimated $4.2 billion
- Ali Al Salem Air Base
- Flying School
- Search and Rescue Wing
- 33rd Helicopter Sqd SA-342K Gazelle
- 17th Attack Sqd AH-64D Longbow Apache
- 20th "The Dark Knights" Attack Sqd AH-64D Longbow Apache
- Air Defence Brigade
|McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet||United States||Multirole Fighter||C\D||28+7=35||First delivery 1992|
|BAE Hawk||United Kingdom||Advanced Trainer||Mk.64||10||Delivered between 1985–86|
|Shorts Tucano||United Kingdom/ Brazil||Basic Trainer||Mk.52||16|
|Lockheed L-100 Hercules||United States||Transport||L100-30||3|
|Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules||United States||Multirole Tanker||KC-130J||3||In service 2013|
|Boeing C-17 Globemaster III||United States||Transport||C-17A||2||In service 2014|
|Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow||United States||Attack Helicopter||-||16||First delivery 2007|
|Aérospatiale SA-342 Gazelle||France||Trainer & Support Helicopter||SA-342K||13||In service 1981|
|Eurocopter AS-332 Super Puma||France||Search & Rescue||AS-332M||4|
|Aérospatiale SA-330 Puma||France||Utility Helicopter||SA-330H||5|
|Sikorsky S-92||United States||VIP Transport||S92A||2||Delivered 2007 and 2008|
|Eurocopter EC-135||Germany||Utility Helicopter||T1||2||Police Rotary Wing|
|Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin||France||Utility Helicopter||N3||2||Police Rotary Wing|
Air Defence Systems
|MIM-104 Patriot||United States||SAM||25 launchers (at least 12 upgraded to PAC-3) purchased 1992|
|MIM-23 Hawk||United States||SAM||6|
|GDF-005 Amoun||Italy||Anti Aircraft Gun & SAM||12|
- , Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
- "Kuwait requests C-17 purchase". Retrieved 2010-09-29.
- Kuwaiti military aviation OrBat
- "air defense".
Media related to Kuwait Air Force at Wikimedia Commons