Royal Army of Oman
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|Royal Army of Oman|
|قوات السلطان المسلحة|
|Allegiance||Sultan of Oman|
|Garrison/HQ||Muaskar al Murtafaa|
|Website||Royal Army of Oman|
|Major General Matar bin Salim bin Rashid al Balushi|
|Flag of Royal Army of Oman|
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. 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, this local garrison force was developed and became the Muscat Infantry in 1921. 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. During the 1960 and 1970s, army units fought in the Dhofar Rebellion alongside British units and it relied on embedded unit-level British military advisors, who saw combat alongside the units they were very much part of. 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). 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.
Ground Forces Organisation
According to the latest MoD Telephone Directory published by Omantel, RAO is structured as follows:
- HQ RAO at Muaskar al Murtafa'a (MAM) near Seeb
- Two infantry brigades:
- 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
- The Border Guard Brigade with a base in Haima in the Al Wusta Governate
- Muscat Regiment (MR) based at Bidbid - Mowag Piranha-equipped Mechanised Infantry
- Northern Frontier Regiment (NFR) based at Ibri and Buraimi
- Desert Regiment (DR) based at Ibra - Mowag Piranha-equipped Mechanised Infantry
- Jebel Regiment (JR) based at Nizwa
- Southern Regiment (KJ) one battalion based at Salalah near the Royal Palace on the Taqah Road
- Western Frontier Regiment (WFR) based at Thumrait
- Sultan of Oman's Parachute Regiment (SOPR) based at Rustaq
- Oman Reconnaissance Regiment based in Dhofar
- Border and Local Security Forces (light infantry role)
- 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
- Military Technical College near Seeb Airport
- Sultan Qaboos Military College (KSQA) including the RAO Officer Training School based at Aydem in Dhofar
- Sultan Armed Forces Training Regiment
- Battle Training Centre - Saiq, Jebel al Akhdhar
Based on locational evidence given in Omantel telephone directory listings (telephone number associations), historical recollections of British servicemen and analysis of Google Earth and Google Map imagery and cartographic data the following RAO garrisons have been identified:
|Name||Wilayat||Province||Type||Unit association||Geographic coordinates (lat/long)|
|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|
|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 and 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|
In 2008 Oman spent 7.7% of GDP on military expenditures.
Between 2001 and 2004 Oman received 174 amphibious light armored vehicles and more than 80 armored VBL from France.
In May 2013 the United States announced a deal with Oman valued at $2.1 billion to supply a ground-based air defense system.
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.
- Challenger 2 main battle tank (38)
- Challenger 2 armored recovery and repair vehicle (4)
- M60A1 (6)
- M60A3 (73)
- M88A-1 Recovery (1)
- M728 Recovery (31)
- B1 Centauro with 120 mm gun (Hitfact) (9) in service 2009-10
- BAE Piranha II 8x8 LAV's (175)
- Panhard VBL (132) including 8 with BGM-71 TOW ATGM Missile launcher.
- Panhard VAB 4x4 &6x6 including 6 with 2RM 120mm heavy mortar\ 6 VAB-VCI and 8 VAB-VTT (56)
- Fahd APC (31-100)
- WZ-551B (50)
- HMMWV Hummer
- Commando V100 4x4 (15)
- FV101 Scorpion (37)
- FV103 Spartan (34)
- FV105 Sultan (31)
- FV106 Samson (30)
- Alvis Stormer (10)
- Saxon (22)
- Cadillac Gage Commando (20)
- Russia BTR-80-?
- VBC-90 (19)
- Turkey FNSS PARS III 8x8 (1)
- Type-90A 122mm MRLs (12)
- G6 howitzers (24)
- M109A2 howitzers (15) - status unknown
- L118 Light Guns (39)
- M-46 130mm guns (15)
- Type 59-1 130mm guns (12)
- FH70 155mm howitzers (12)
- 122 mm howitzer 2A18 (D-30) (30)
- L16 81mm Mortars
- M102 105mm howitzers (36)
- Brandt 120mm mortars (12)
- 2R2M 120mm (SP on VAB) mortar (14)
- M30 107mm mortars (SP on M-106A-2 APCs) (12)
- BGM-71A/C improved TOW ATGMs (26 launchers, 220 missiles)
- BGM-71F TOW-2B ATGMs (18 launchers, 562 missiles)
- FGM-148 ATGMs (30 launchers, 250 missiles)
- MILAN ATGMs (32-50 launchers)
- LAW 80 light ATRLs
- RPG-7V light ATRLs
- Oerlikon 35 mm twin cannon GDF-007 (10)
- Skyguard-AD system (Aspide SAMs+Oerlikon GDF-002 35mm twin AAGs)
- Bofors 40mm gun
- VDAA 2x20mm SP-AAGs (9)
- ZU-23 2x23mm AAGs (4-5)
- M-167A2 VADS 20mm AAG
- SHORAR radar system (2) - associated with Mistral SAM
- Blindfire radar systems for Rapier missiles (18)
- Skyguard-radar systems for Skyguard A\D systems (5)
- Cymbeline artillery location radar (3)
- Crotale NG SAM
- Avenger SP-air defense system-on order (18)
- Rapier MK-2\Jernas SAMs (5) launchers\600 Rapier-1+ 800 Rapier-2 missiles.
- Mistral anti-aircraft missile (54) launchers\230 missiles.
- Blowpipe MANPADs-200 missiles.
- Javelin MANPADs (30) launchers\280 missiles.
- SA-7 Grail MANPADs (34)
- THAAD anti-missile system
- Browning Hi-Power MK-2 Pistol
- INSAS rifle
- SIG Sauer P226
- S&W M38
- Steyr AUG
- M16A1/A2/A4 Service rifle
- M4 carbine
- Bushmaster Carbon 15
- SIG SG 540
- FN FAL 50-00/L1A1
- H&K G3
- FN Minimi SAW
- FN MAG Machine gun
- M2 BrowningHB Machine gun
- M203 grenade launcher
- M79 grenade launcher
- Accuracy International Arctic Warfare
- Barrett M82
- H&K MP5A3
- H&K MP7A1
- Sterling MK-IV (L2A3)
Out of service equipment
- 24x Chieftain tank-MK-5 United Kingdom - phased out, status unknown
- 15x Daimler Ferret Armoured Car FV-702 4x4 scout car United Kingdom
- 10x Alvis Saracen FV-603 6x6 APC United Kingdom
- 24x QF-25 howitzer United Kingdom
- 4x 5.5 Inch MK-3\140mm Towed-gun United Kingdom
- 38x Alvis Saladin United Kingdom-Scorpion CVRT United Kingdom replaced these AFVs last paraded in 1981
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