Royal Air Force of Oman

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Royal Air Force of Oman
سلاح الجو السلطاني العماني
Emblem of the Royal Air Force of Oman.svg
Founded Since March 1959
Country Oman
Commanders
Commander of the RAFO Air Vice-Marshal Matar bin Ali Al Obaidani
Insignia
Roundel of the former SOAF (Sultan of Oman's Air Force) Roundel of the Royal Air Force of Oman.svg
RAFO Fin Flash Fin Flash of Oman.svg
Ensign of the former SOAF (Sultan of Oman's Air Force) Ensign of the Sultan of Oman's Air Force.svg
Aircraft flown
Fighter Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon / BAe Hawk 203
Trainer BAe Hawk 103, Pilatus PC-9M, PAC Super MFI-17 Mushshak
Transport Airbus A320CJ, Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Dornier Do 228-100

The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFOسلاح الجو السلطاني عمان - Silāḥ al-Jaww as-Sulṭāniy ‘Umān) is the air arm of the Armed Forces of Oman

History[edit]

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]

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 the congress of a possible sale of 18 F-16 Block 50/52 to Oman in a contract worth 3.5 Billion USD. 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 the 21st of December 2012 a £2.5 billion deal was signed in Muscat to supply RAFO with 12 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets and 8 BAE Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer aircraft, the delivery should start by 2017.[5]


Equipment[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service[6] Notes
Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Fighting Falcon  USA Fighter F-16C/D 12 An initial batch of 12 aircraft were ordered, one of which was lost in a crash on 22 September 2013, killing its pilot.[7][8] An additional 12 aircraft were ordered (1 of which has been delivered)[9]
Eurofighter Typhoon  UK Fighter Eurofighter Typhoon 0 12 on order. Manufacturing will begin in 2014 with delivery expected in 2017.[10]
BAe Hawk 203  UK Fighter Hawk 203 11
Lockheed C-130 Hercules  USA Tactical Transport C-130H
C-130J-30
3
1
2 more ordered in August 2010.[11]
Dornier Do 228-100  GER Light Transport Do 228-100 2
Airbus A320CJ  EU Transport A320CJ 2
EADS CASA C-295  SPA Transport C-295 1 5 ordered in total[12]
Short SC.7 Skyvan 3M  UK Light Transport Skyvan 3M 12 to be replaced by C-295
BAe Hawk 103  UK Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk 103 4 A total of 5 delivered, including 1 ex-Canadian.
Hawk 128 (Hawk T2)  UK Advanced Jet Trainer Hawk 128 8 on order.[13]
PAC Super MFI-17 Mushshak  PAK Trainer 7 8 delivered.
Pilatus PC-9M   Swiss Trainer PC-9M 12 delivered 1999-2000
Agusta-Bell AB205A-1  Italy Search and Rescue Helicopter AB205A-1 21 To be retired and replaced with NH90 and Lynx Mk 120. A total of 37 delivered and 3 on loan from Iran.
AgustaWestland AW139  Italy Helicopter AW139 10 10 purchased for Royal Oman Police aviation wing.
Bell 206B JetRanger  USA Helicopter Bell 206 5 7 delivered.
Bell 214\214ST  USA Utility Helicopter Bell 214
Bell 214ST
5
6
Bell HH-1H Iroquois  USA Helicopter HH-1H 20
Eurocopter AS 550 Fennec  FRA Helicopter AS 550 3 Delivered To Omani Royal Flight.
Eurocopter EC225 Super Puma  EU Helicopter EC 225 6 Delivered to Omani Royal Flight.
NHI NH90  EU Helicopter 11 8 to be delivered, The RAFO have up to now ordered 20 NH90 TTH in order to replace its fleet of aging AB205A/206/212/214.
Westland Super Lynx  UK Helicopter Super Lynx Mk. 120 15 16 Delivered from 2004.

1 lost to crash 2006.08.18.[14]

Total 247+

Air-to-Air missiles[edit]

Air-to-Ground missiles[edit]

Bombs[edit]

  • BL-755
  • GBU-31\38
  • (84) JDAM (GBU-13\32)
  • Paveway-II (150) (GBU-10\12\16)
  • CBU-97 SFW350 (50)

Avionics\Pods[edit]

  • 2 TARS
  • 7 Sniper AN-AAQ-33
  • AN-ALE-47
  • AN-ALQ-211
  • JHMCS Pilot helmet
  • Topowl
  • TWE
  • 12 AN\APG-66 combat aircraft radars (for F-16C\D)

Target drones[edit]

  • 53 TTL BTT-3 Banshee

Radars[edit]

  • AR-15
  • 4x S-713 Martello 3-D
  • 2x S-600
  • 1x Watchman

Historical aircraft[edit]

BAC 167 Strikemaster Mk 82A in Sultan of Oman's Air Force colour scheme at the 2013 Shoreham Airshow.

References[edit]