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Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO)
Royal Oman Air Force (ROAF)

The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) is equipped with advanced fighter, interceptor and other aircraft, as well as anti-aircraft missiles and modern radar, defence and weapons systems to ensure a high level of combat proficiency at all times and in all circumstances. In addition to its F-16 fighters, RAFOs combat capability is reinforced by a number of Hawk and Jaguar aircraft along with Super Lynx and NH90 helicopters, that also provide back-up for the Royal Navy of Oman in protecting the coastline as well as offering support services for members of the public in the mountain areas. To enhance their skills and expertise, they also take part in exercises with the air forces of the Arab Gulf Co-operation Council states and other friendly countries. The Airbus A320-300 has replaced RAFOs BAC-111 transport planes.

While the Royal Air Force of Oman (ROAF) (Al-Quwwat al-Jawiyya al-Sultaniyya al-Umaniyya) is not the largest or most modern air force in the Gulf, it is one of the most professional air forces in the Arab world. The Royal Oman Air Force had a strength of about 3,500 in 1992, and about 5,000 in 2005. In the early 1990s its forty-four combat aircraft of British manufacture consisted of two fighter-ground attack squadrons of modern Jaguars, a ground attack and reconnaissance squadron of older Hunters, and a squadron of Strikemasters and Defenders for counterinsurgency, maritime reconnaissance, and training purposes. The air force is fairly well equipped with three transport squadrons and two squadrons of helicopters for troop transport and medical transport.

1 Trainer season PC-9, "Super Mushshak"
2 Transport squadron "Skyvan"
3 Helicopter squadron "Super Lynx", "Jet Ranger"
4 Transport Squadron A320
5 Transport squadron "Skyvan"
6 Fighter-bomber squadron (light) "Hawk"
8 Fighter-bomber squadron "Jaguar"
14 Helicopter squadron 205A, "Super Puma", "Puma"
15 Helicopter squadron "Super Lynx"
16 Transport Squadron C-130H
18 Multi purpose relay F-16
20 Fighter-bomber squadron "Jaguar"
Rapier SAMs were linked to an integrated air control and early warning network based on a Martello radar system. Skyvan aircraft fitted with radar and special navigational gear conduct maritime reconnaissance and antipollution patrols. The principal air bases are at Thamarit in the south and on Masirah. Others are collocated with the international airport at As Sib, at Al Khasab on the Musandam Peninsula, at Nazwah, and at Salalah. Officer and pilot training takes place at the Sultan Qabus Air Academy on Masirah. Pilots of fighter aircraft receive advanced training in Britain.

By 1997 the Omani air force was conducting a study into its future combat-aircraft strategy, including consideration of a Jaguar upgrade program, which would extend the aircraft's life until at least 2005. British Aerospace proposed the Swedish Saab JAS39 Gripen to Oman as a replacement for its Sepecat Jaguar combat aircraft, while Lockheed Martin offered secondhand and new-build F-16s.

On 04 October 2001, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Oman of F-16 C/D Fighters, associated weapons and equipment and technical and logistical support for the fighters. The Government of Oman has requested a possible sale of 12 F-16C/D Block 50+ aircraft with either the F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 engine and APG-68(V)XM FMS radars; two spare F100-PW-229 or two spare F110-GE-129 engines; 14 LANTIRN Targeting Pods (FMS variant); 14 LANTIRN Navigation Pods with Terrain Following Radar (TFR); 50 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) and 10 AMRAAM training missiles; 100 AIM-9M-8/9 SIDEWINDER missiles and 10 SIDEWINDER training missiles; 80 AGM-65D/G MAVERICK missiles and 10 MAVERICK training missiles; 20 AGM-84D HARPOON Air-Launched Anti-ship missiles; 100 Enhanced-GBU-10 and 100 Enhanced-GBU-12 PAVEWAY II laser guided bomb kits; 80 GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munitions; LANTIRN Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpits; and the capability to employ a wide variety of munitions. Associated support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related requirements to ensure full program supportability will also be provided.

In an effort to modernize its Air Force, in October 2001, after years of consideration, Oman purchased (with its own funds) 12 U.S.-made F-16 C/D aircraft from new production. Along with associated weapons (Harpoon and AIM missiles), a podded reconnaissance system, and training, the sale was valued at about $825 million, less than the initially estimated cost of $1,120 million. Oman's decision to buy U.S.-made F-16 fighters signals a departure from the country's traditional reliance on British-made weapons. Deliveries for Oman began in 2005; deliveries were completed in 2006.

In 2002 Oman purchased $49 million worth of F-16 ammunition to supplement their 2001 purchase of the F16 aircraft. On 10 April, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Oman of various munitions for F-16 Fighter Aircraft and associated equipment and services. The Government of Oman has requested a possible sale of 50,000 20mm high explosive projectiles, 50,000 20mm training projectiles, 300 MK-82 500 lb general purpose bombs, 200 MK-83 1,000 lb general purpose bombs, 100 enhanced GBU-12 Paveway II 500 lb laser guided bomb kits, 50 GBU- 31(v)3/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions, 50 CBU-97/105 sensor fuzed weapon, 20,000 RR-170 self- protection chaff, 20,000 MJU-7B self-protection flares, support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistical and program support.

On 18 July 2002, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Oman of podded reconnaissance systems as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $49 million. The Government of Oman has requested a possible sale of two Goodrich DB-110 or two BAE Systems F-9120 Podded reconnaissance systems, one Goodrich or one BAE Systems Exploitation Ground Station, support equipment, spares and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support.

On 16 December 2004 Textron Systems Corp., Wilmington Mass., was awarded a $115,788,749 firm fixed price contract to provide for 341 Sensor Fuzed Weapons Full-Rate Production (FRP 10) Option Exercise. This effort supports the United States, and foreign military sales to Oman. Total funds have been obligated. This work will be complete by March 2007. The Headquarters Air Armament Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8677-05-C-0072).

The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) ordered 20 NH90 TTH in order to replace its fleet of ageing AB205A/206/212/214. The NH90 TTH chosen by Oman is to date one of the most advanced and versatile version of the NH90. This NH90 fleet will cover a wide spectrum of missions from the VIP transport, to troop transport and Search and Rescue missions round the clock in the most demanding conditions. The Certificate of Transfer of the first batch of two NH90 multipurpose helicopters occurred on 23 June 2010 on the Royal Air Force of Oman base of MUSANA after a very demanding 2 months evaluation period in severe operational conditions. This initial delivery which marked the first delivery of an NH90 in the middle east was followed ahead of schedule, in July 2010, by the acceptance process of the second batch of NH90.

Omans most high-profile requirement was for a replacement for its ageing Jaguars after more than 30 years of service, and to provide a more robust air defence and air superiority capability than can be guaranteed by Block 50 F-16s. The front runner to provide a new generation fighter was widely believed to be the Eurofighter Typhoon. It was reported that Oman would eventually receive as many as 18-24 Eurofighter Typhoons, perhaps refurbished and upgraded ex-RAF aircraft. Saabs JAS 39 Gripen was also reported to be under consideration, though this fighter faded from view. French offers to sell the Dassault Rafale to Oman, made by French president Nicolas Sarkozy during a meeting with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in February 2009, also went nowhere.

On August 3, 2010 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Oman of 18 F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $3.5 Billion. The Government of Oman requested a possible sale of 18 F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft, 20 F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines, 36 LAU- 129/A Common Rail Launchers, 24 APG-68(V)9 radar sets, 20 M61 20mm Vulcan Cannons, 22 AN/ARC-238 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems with HAVE QUICK I/II, 40 Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems, 36 LAU-117 MAVERICK Launchers, 22 ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) or Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES) (ACES includes the ALQ-187 Electronic Warfare System and AN/ALR-93 Radar Warning Receiver), Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) Systems with Mode IV, 34 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded-GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS), 18 AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Targeting Pods or similarly capable system, 4 DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods (RECCE), 22 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (CMDS), and 35 ALE-50 Towed Decoys.

Also included is the upgrade of the existing 12 F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft, site survey, support equipment, tanker support, ferry services, Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD), conformal fuel tanks, construction, modification kits, repair and return, modification kits, spares and repair parts, construction, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, ground based flight simulator, and other related elements of logistics support.

This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East. The proposed sale will provide a significant increase in the Royal Air Force of Omans (RAFO) capability to train with U.S. and coalition forces and augment coalition forces in a regional conflict. The F-16 Block 50/52 will enable Oman to support both its own air defense needs and coalition operations. Oman currently has 12 F-16s in its inventory and will have no difficulty absorbing these additional aircraft into its armed forces.

On 14 December 2011 Lockheed Martin Corp., Fort Worth, Texas, was awarded a $600,000,000 dollar firm-fixed-price, time-and-material and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a Foreign Military Sales program that will provide the government of Oman with following: 12 F-16 C/D Block 50 Multi-Role Fighter Aircraft (10 C models, two D models); support equipment; technical orders; and integrated logistics support. The location of the performance is Fort Worth, Texas. Work is expected to be completed Nov. 30, 2016. This was a sole-source acquisition. Therefore, one proposal was received. ASC/WWMK, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, is the contracting activity (FA8615-12-C-6011).

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on 12 June 2012 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Oman for 55 AIM-9X Block II SIDEWINDER All-Up- Round Missiles, 36 AIM-9X Block II SIDEWINDER Captive Air Training Missiles, 6 AIM-9X Block II Tactical Guidance Units, 4 AIM-9X Block II Captive Air Training Missile Guidance Units, 1 Dummy Air Training Missile, and other related equipment. The estimated cost is $86 million.

On 29 June 2012 NHI delivered two more NH90 helicopters to the Royal Air Force of Oman. As of that date the RAFO operated ten NH90s out of twenty ordered. These new generation helicopters are among the best equipped helicopters in the region, they are able to fulfill a wide spectrum of missions such as tactical transport, logistic support, Vip transport, Medevac, light armed support, Search and Rescue missions.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress 12 December 2012 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Oman for a number of F-16 A/C weapon systems, as well as associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $117 million. The Sultanate of Oman requested a possible sale of 27 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM), 162 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II 500-lb Laser Guided Bombs, 162 FMU-152 bomb fuzes, 150 BLU-111B/B 500-lb Conical Fin General Purpose Bombs (Freefall Tail), 60 BLU-111B/B 500-lb Retarded Fin General Purpose Bombs (Ballute Tail), and 32 CBU-105 Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (WCMD). Also included are 20mm projectiles, Aerial Gunnery Target System (AGTS-36), training munitions, flares, chaff, containers, impulse cartridges, weapon support equipment and components, repair and return, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor representative logistics and technical support services, site survey, and other related elements of logistics support.

BAE Systems said 21 December 2012 that it had signed e $4.1 billion contract to provide Oman with 12 Typhoon fighter jets and eight Hawk jet trainers. Delivery of the aircraft is slated to begin in 2017. BAE said the contract covers the supply of the aircraft and in-service support. The move will safeguard thousands of jobs in Britain. The deal will make Oman the seventh nation to use the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is built by a consortium of European aerospace companies, joining the air forces of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Saudi Arabia. This order of Hawk AJT's follows an order from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in May of this year. This order takes the total number of Hawk aircraft sold, or on order, to 998.

A new air base has been under construction at al-Musana'a in the northern part of the country and this will boost operating efficiency when it becomes operational.



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