Al Dhafra Air Base, UAE
24°14'54" N 54°32'52"E
Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates is located about an hour outside of Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The 763rd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron [formerly designated the 4413th Air Refueling Squadron (Provisional)] conducts in-flight refueling missions throughout Southwest Asia in support of Operation Southern Watch, a coalition force tasked to monitor United Nations Security Council resolutions restricting air and ground operations in Southern Iraq. The Air Force operates KC-10 refueling planes which are involved in sustaining US warplanes covering the southern no-flight zone over Iraq.
Both U-2s and Global Hawk operated from the the United Arab Emirates since early in Operation Enduring Freedom.
The UAE air force is split into a western and central air command based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively. Western command has air bases at Al Dhafra, Bateen and Al Ain Sharjah international airport. The largest base is Al Dhafra in Abu Dhabi, which has two squadrons of Mirage 2000s and one with Mirage-5s. Al Dhafra is also home to the Abu Dhabi Royal Flight, the AH-64As, the Cougars and the Puma transports.
The 10th Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed to Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates, for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
The Gulf War stimulated the UAE's interest in building a security relationship with the United States. The two countries concluded a Defense Cooperation Agreement in 1994. Among Gulf states friendly to the United States, the UAE is probably least supportive of the US hard line toward Iraq. UAE officials are sensitive to criticism from Islamic sects of close ties to the United States.
As the US Air Force increased the lengths of most Operation Southern Watch deployments from 90 to 120 days beginning 01 June 1997, quality of life issues became paramount for the nearly 300 people deployed at Al Dhafra AB. Established in August 1992, the 4413th ARS(P) had a history of quality of life programs. Popular quality of life measures include a recreation center, complete with large-screen televisions, pingpong tables, a foosball table and a pool table. A paperback book library, video check-out center and video game stations are also housed in the rec center. All living quarters (tents and trailers) are equipped with a TV and VCR.
Attacks on the Office of the Program Manager/Saudi Arabia National Guard (OPM/SANG) in November 1995 and on the Khobar Towers living compound in June 1996 forever changed the way in which the Armed Forces will regard terrorism in the Persian Gulf. Security precautions were taken in the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait as US personnel moved from the Sahara Residency in downtown Abu Dhabi onto Al Dhafra air base outside the city and from the international airport at Kuwait City onto Ahmed Al Jabber air base in the desert.
As the Air Force increased the lengths of most Operation Southern Watch deployments from 90 to 120 days beginning 01 June 1997, quality of life issues became even more paramount for the 4413th Air Refueling Squadron (Provisional). Established in August 1992, the 4413th ARS(P) has a history of great quality of life programs. Popular quality of life measures here include: A recreation center, complete with large-screen televisions, pingpong tables, a foosball table and a pool table. A paperback book library, video check-out center and video game stations are also housed in the rec center. A fitness center, consisting of free-weights, Nautilus equipment and a few cardiovascular machines. All meals contracted through a local Holiday Inn, including box lunches for aircrew members. A morale phone center. Plans are under way to hook up three computers for "morale e-mail." All living quarters (tents and trailers) equipped with a TV and VCR. A laundry tent with 24 washers and dryers (again, rarely crowded). A barrel of free soap powder is also available in the tent. Two side-by-side, above-ground swimming pools. Civil engineers built a large deck around the pools. A basketball and sand volleyball court.
The Air Force Contract Augmentation Program (AFCAP) is a cost-plus award fee contract designed to provide on-call capability in a wide range of contingency civil engineer and services support (except crash/fire rescue, explosive ordnance disposal, mortuary affairs and field exchanges). The current AFCAP contractor is Readiness Management Support L.C. a subsidiary of Johnson Controls. The RMS contract team is actively involved in two 12-month task orders that provide 35 power generator mechanics and 16 engineers at four locations in Southwest Asia. The four locations include Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; Ali Al Salem AB, Kuwait; Al Jaber AB, Kuwait; and Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates. Each location has a wide variety of mobility and commercial generators up to and including 1000KW. The support equates to "backfilling" 140 blue-suiter rotations and reduces the OPSTEMPO requirements on active duty AF power production specialists.