Royal Army of Oman

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Royal Army of Oman
القوات المسلحة السلطانية العُمانية
Royal Army of Oman Seal.svg
Country Oman
AllegianceSultan of Oman
TypeLand force
RoleLand warfare
Garrison/HQMuaskar al Murtafaa
WebsiteRoyal Army of Oman
Major General Matar bin Salim bin Rashid al Balushi[1][2]
Flag of Royal Army of OmanRoyal Army of Oman Flag.svg

The Royal Army of Oman is the ground forces component of the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces. It was founded in 1907 as the Muscat Garrison.[3] It has a current strength of 25,000 personnel.[4]


Oman has a military history which dates back to the seventh century, when troops from the Alozd tribe were strong enough to help Abu Bakr, companion of the Islamic prophet Mohammed. At the beginning of the seventeenth century there were local forces associated with Ya'ariba dynasty.[5] It was this dynasty, which forced the expulsion of Portuguese from the country in 1650. The Ya'ariba dynasty were responsible for most of the fortified site across what is now th Sultanate of Oman from Musandam in the north to the southern province of Dhofar.

The Royal Army of Oman officially traces its origins back to the formation of the Muscat Garrison in 1907,[6] this local garrison force was developed and became the Muscat Infantry in 1921.[7] An agreement between the Omani and the British governments in 1958 led to the creation of the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF) and the creation of formally structured Omani army units. At the same time the United Kingdom promised to provide direct assistance in the development of the SAF and its land forces.[8] During the 1960 and 1970s, army units fought in the Dhofar Rebellion alongside British units and[3] it relied on embedded unit-level British military advisors, who saw combat alongside the units they were very much part of.[9] At the end of the Dhofar Rebellion the Omani army became an independent service known as the Sultan of Oman Land Forces in 1976. In 1990, Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said renamed his land forces the Royal Army of Oman (RAO).[10] The RAO frequently exercises with the armed forces of fellow Gulf Cooperation Council nations and other strategic defense partners such as the US and UK.[11]

Ground Forces Organisation[edit]

According to the latest MoD Telephone Directory published by Omantel,[12] RAO is structured as follows:

HM Sultan Qaboos in the field observing an army exercise in 1980
Omani Army positions at Sarfayt in 1972, during the Dhofar Rebellion
A British military advisor and his Omani Junood in 1980
Oregon National Guard Training in Oman alongside the Omani Army (U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Cory Grogan, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs)
Omani soldiers and US Marines exercising in 2017
  • HQ RAO at Muaskar al Murtafa'a (MAM) near Seeb[13][14]
  • Two infantry brigades:[15]
    • 11 Brigade (the southern brigade) based in Salalah
    • 23 Brigade (the northern brigade) based at MAM
  • The Sultan's Armour Units (MSO) based at Sultan bin Safy Camp at Shafa, near Izki[16]
  • The Border Guard Brigade with a base in Haima in the Al Wusta Governate[17][18]
  • Infantry
  • Border and Local Security Forces (light infantry role)
    • Western Border Security Force based at Al Qabil
    • Coastal Security Force based at Sur
    • Musandam Security Force (MSF) based at Bukha[21]
    • Rural Security Forces based in Salalah (replaced Firqat Forces)
  • Sultan of Oman's Artillery
    • Northern artillery units based at Izki
    • Southern artillery units based at Thumrait in Dhofar
  • SAF Signals based in MAM (with units supporting 11 Brigade)
  • SAF Engineers based in MAM (with units supporting 11 Brigade)
  • SAF Transport based in Mabela (with units supporting 11 Brigade)
  • SAF Electrical & Mechanical Engineers based in MAM (with units supporting 11 Brigade)
  • SAF Ordnance based in MAM (with units supporting 11 Brigade)
  • SAF Medical Services main hospitals at Al Khoudh (north) and Umm al Ghawarif (south) and other base locations
  • Training Establishments
    • National Defence College Bayt al Falaj, Ruwi, Muscat[22]
    • Military Technical College near Seeb Airport[23]
    • Sultan Qaboos Military College (KSQA) including the RAO Officer Training School based at Aydem in Dhofar[24]
    • Sultan Armed Forces Training Regiment[25]
    • Battle Training Centre - Saiq, Jebel al Akhdhar[26]

Garrison Locations[edit]

Based on locational evidence given in Omantel telephone directory listings (telephone number associations),[12][27] historical recollections of British servicemen[28] and analysis of Google Earth and Google Map imagery and cartographic data[29] the following RAO garrisons have been identified:

Name Wilayat Province Type Unit Association Geographic Coordinates (Lat/Long)
Headquarters Locations
Muaskar Bayt al Falaj Bayt al Falaj Muscat Headquarters and unit accommodation Office of the Minister Responsible For Defense Affairs 23.610051N 58.544752E
Muaskar al Murtafa'a Al Seeb Muscat Headquarters and unit accommodation HQ COSSAF, HQ RAO, HQ 23 Brigade 23.572877N 58.250439E
Umm al Ghawarif Barracks Salalah Dhofar Headquarters and unit accommodation HQ 11 Brigade and Base Hospital 17.027473N 54.137078E
Haima Barracks Haima Al Wusta Headquarters and unit accommodation HQ Border Guard Force Brigade and force units 19.998067N 56.358130E
Combat Unit Locations
Shafa Barracks Shafa Al Dakhiliyah Multiple armoured units and support units Sultan of Oman's Armour 22.733322N 57.718340E
Izki Barracks Izki Al Dakhiliyah Multiple artillery units and support units Sultan of Oman's Artillery 22.954081N 57.775505E
Bukha Barracks Bukha Musandam Light infantry unit location Musandam Security Force 26.144753N 56.143521E
Rustaq Barracks Rustaq Al Batinah South Light infantry unit location Sultan of Oman's Parachute Regiment 23.411183N 57.429730E
Bidbid Barracks Bidbid Al Dakhiliyah Infantry unit location Muscat Regiment 23.438529N 58.126797E
Ibri Barracks Ibri Al Dhahirah Infantry unit location Northern Frontier Regiment 23.241060N 56.512264E
Buraimi Fort and Barracks Buraimi Buraimi Infantry unit location Northern Frontier Regiment 24.236837N 55.790218E
Al Qabil Barracks Al Qabil Buraimi Light infantry unit location Western Border Security Force 23.933569N 55.823533E
Nizwa Barracks Nizwa Al Dakhiliyah Infantry unit location Jebel Regiment 22.917048N 57.537668E
Ibra Barracks Ibra Al Sharqiyah North Infantry unit location Desert Regiment 22.738625N 58.505236E
Sur Barracks Sur Al Sharqiyah South Light infantry unit location Coastal Security Force 22.538349N 59.476562E
Bait al Maamoorah Palace Barracks Salalah Dhofar Infantry unit location Southern Oman Regiment 17.046984N 54.219079E
Raysut Barracks Salalah Dhofar Infantry unit location Oman Reconnaissance Regiment 16.946844N 53.995651E
Thumrait Barracks Thumrait Dhofar Infantry unit location Western Frontier Regiment 17.642156N 54.020499E
Mayzunah Barracks Mayzunah Dhofar Infantry unit location Western Frontier Regiment 17.856471N 52.692569E
Sarfayt Base Sarfayt Dhofar Infantry unit location Unidentified 16.697399N 53.103528E
Support Unit Locations
Mabela Camp Al Seeb Muscat Transport unit accommodation Sultan's Armed Forces Transport Regiment 23.666388N 58.140895E
Armed Forces Hospital Al Khoudh Muscat Base Hospital Sultan's Armed Forces Medical Services 23.574647N 58.207412E
Training Locations
National Defense College Bayt al Falaj Muscat Higher Defense Staff College SAF training site 23.607289N 58.543684E
Aydem Camp Aydem Dhofar Sultan Qaboos Military College Officer and NCO Training Academy 16.990236N 53.358888E
Saiq Camp Saiq, Jebel Akhdar Al Dakhiliyah Infantry training Area RAO training site 23.074098N 57.639172E
Military Technical College Seeb Muscat Military College SAF training site 23.568452N 58.278716E
Cultural & Welfare Locations
Armed Forces Museum Bayt al Falaj Muscat Historic site and display of military artifacts Defense Museum 23.608479N 58.545949E
Armed Forces Beach Club Seeb Muscat Restaurants, vacation accommodation and function rooms SAF Welfare 23.605869N 58.330261E


Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks in the deserts of Oman
M-60 Main Battle Tanks on parade in 1981
Anti-aircraft missiles of the Oman Artillery (Land Rovers towing Rapier missile wheeled launchers)
105mm Light Guns on parade in 1981

In 2008 Oman spent 7.7% of GDP on military expenditures.

Oman has one armored brigade (MSO) equipped with the Challenger 2 and the M60A1 and M60A3 Patton tanks.

Between 2001 and 2004 Oman received 174 amphibious light armored vehicles and more than 80 armored VBL from France.[30]

In May 2013 the United States announced a deal with Oman valued at $2.1 billion to supply a ground-based air defense system.[31]

Oman looks to acquire K2 main battle tanks from South Korea. South Korean Defense Company Hyundai Rotem Co. could sell 76 K2 Black Panther Main Battle Tanks to Oman, a deal that could reach an amount up to $884.6 million.[32]

Armoured vehicles[edit]


Field Artillery[edit]

Air Defense[edit]

Small arms[edit]

Out of service equipment[edit]


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  2. ^ "Commander received at RAO". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Royal Army of Oman / Royal Oman Land Forces (ROLF)". Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Royal Army of Oman - Equipment". Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  5. ^ "Al'Yaruba State". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  6. ^ Peterson, J. E. (2016). Oman in the Twentieth Century: Political Foundations of an Emerging State. Routledge. pp. 72–75. ISBN 9781317291732. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  7. ^ "About the Royal Army of Oman (RAO)". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  8. ^ "Persian Gulf States - Oman - Regional and National Security Considerations". US Government. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  9. ^ Peck, Malcolm C. (2010). The A to Z of the Gulf Arab States. Scarecrow Press. pp. 21–22. ISBN 9780810876361. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
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  12. ^ a b "Oman Yellow Pages - Ministry of Defence". Omantel. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
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  15. ^ Allen, Calvin H.; II, W. Lynn Rigsbee (2014). Oman Under Qaboos: From Coup to Constitution, 1970-1996. Routledge. p. 82. ISBN 9781135314309. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  16. ^ Peterson, J. E. (2013). Oman's Insurgencies: The Sultanate's Struggle for Supremacy, Appendix 1. Saqi. ISBN 9780863567025. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  17. ^ "SAF launches Atheer Project". Times of Oman. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  18. ^ Newspaper, Muscat Daily. "H E Nuamani inspects border guard brigade - Oman". Muscat Daily News. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Paras train with Omani soldiers - GOV.UK". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
  20. ^ Dhar, D (1 October 2007). "Retrospective Study of Injuries in Military Parachuting". Medical Journal Armed Forces India. doi:10.1016/S0377-1237(07)80014-1. Retrieved 8 August 2017.
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  22. ^ "National Defense College About US". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
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  28. ^ Ranger Margaret. Dorrance Publishing. pp. 359–360. ISBN 9781434941213. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
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  30. ^ "Arms Trade Registers". Retrieved 6 August 2017.
  31. ^ "Joint Statement by the United States and the Government of the Sultanate of Oman". Retrieved 2016-01-10.
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  33. ^ "Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank". Retrieved 13 August 2017.
  34. ^ "CRARRV Armored Recovery Vehicle". Retrieved 7 August 2017.
  35. ^ "Raytheon Secures Oman as New Customer for NASAMS". Defense News. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  36. ^ Oman to buy the air defense missile system THAAD -, May 27, 2013
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