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


Sultan of Oman's Air Force era

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]

Royal Air Force of Oman era

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 21 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]


A Royal Air Force of Oman Jaguar intercepting an Il-38 in 1987


Royal Air Force of Oman BAC 1-11 Model 485GD at RIAT 2008, UK


Installation Unit with aircraft type Notes
RAFO Adam Eurofighter Typhoon Air base is currently being built.[when?]
RAFO Khasab No. 14 Squadron (det) with NH90-TTH
RAFO Musannah No. 14 Squadron (det) with NH90-TTH
No. 15 Squadron with NH90-TTH & Super Lynx Mk.120
RAFO Masirah No. 1 Squadron with Super Mushshak & PC-9(M)
No. 6 Squadron with Hawk 103, Hawk 103A & Hawk 203
No. 15 Squadron (det) with Super Lynx Mk.120
RAFO Muscat No. 2 Squadron with SC7-3M-4022 Seavan Air base co-located within Muscat International Airport. Shefted to musana
No. 4 Squadron with A320-214CJ
No. 14 Squadron with NH90-TTH & SA330J
No. 16 Squadron with C-130H & C-130J
RAFO Salalah No. 3 Squadron with NH90-TTH, Bell 206B3, Bell 429 & Super Lynx Mk.120
No. 5 Squadron with C295M
RAFO Thumrait No. 18 Squadron with F-16C-50-CF & F-16D-50-CF Squadron expected to move to RAFO Musannah soon.
No. 20 Squadron with F-16C-50-CF & F-16D-50-CF


Current inventory

An Omani Jaguar taxies towards the runway at Thumrait
A C-130H Hercules on take off
A Eurocopter EC225LP Super Puma
BAC 167 Strikemaster Mk 82A in Sultan of Oman's Air Force colour scheme at the 2013 Shoreham Airshow.
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States multirole fighter F-16C 17[6]
Eurofighter Typhoon United Kingdom multirole fighter Single-seater 9[7][8]
BAE Hawk 200 United Kingdom light multirole 203 10[6]
Maritime Patrol
CASA C-295 Spain maritime patrol 4[6]
Airbus A320 France VIP 2[9]
CASA C-295 Spain transport 4[6]
C-130 Hercules United States transport C-130H 3[6]
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlift 2[6] one aircraft is a C-130J-30[10]
Bell 206 United States utility 4[6]
NHIndustries NH90 France utility / transport 18 1 on order[6]
Aérospatiale SA330 France transport / utility 2[6]
Eurocopter EC225 France transport / utility 2[6]
Westland Lynx United Kingdom ASW Super Lynx 120 15[6]
Trainer Aircraft
Eurofighter Typhoon United Kingdom conversion trainer Twin-seater 3[6][7][8]
BAE Hawk United Kingdom advanced trainer 103 10 2 on order[6]
Pilatus PC-9 Switzerland trainer 12[6]
F-16 Fighting Falcon United States conversion trainer F-16D 6[6]
PAC Super Mushshak Pakistan trainer 7[6]
Bell 429 GlobalRanger United States trainer 5[6]


Previous aircraft flown by the Air Force included the SEPECAT Jaguar S/B, Hawker Hunter, BAC Strikemaster, Douglas DC-8, Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander, Skyvan 3M, BAe BAC-1-11, Scheibe Super-Falke, and the Bell 214B helicopter[11][12]


The first Omani to command the Air Force was Air Vice-Marshal Talib bin Meran bin Zaman Al-Raeesi who was appointed in June 1990.[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Royal Air Force of Oman". Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Hoyle, Craig. "Omani F-16 deal means continued wait for Eurofighter." Flight International via flightglobal.com, 14 December 2011. Retrieved: 18 December 2011.
  4. ^ Royal Air Force of Oman, JAS 39 Gripen and Eurofighter Typhoon. Tactical Report (2010-06-03). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  5. ^ BBC News - BAE Systems wins £2.5bn Oman Hawk and Typhoon contract. Bbc.co.uk (2012-12-21). Retrieved on 2013-08-16.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 5 January 2018. 
  7. ^ a b "Latest Omani Typhoons on Delivery". AirForces Monthly. 7 February 2018. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018. 
  8. ^ a b Cenciotti, David (7 February 2018). "These Are The Latest Eurofighter Typhoon Jets For The Royal Air Force of Oman". The Aviationist. Archived from the original on 7 February 2018. Retrieved 7 February 2018. 
  9. ^ "Royal Air Force of Oman orders two Airbus A320 Corporate Jets". airbus.com. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Oman gets ready to induct C-130J". arabianaerospace.aero. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Aeroflight  » Oman. Air Force". aeroflight.co.uk. 
  12. ^ "World Air Forces 1987 pg. 76" (PDF). flightglobal.com. Retrieved 11 January 2018. 
  13. ^ "The Evolution of Oman's Royal Air Force". rafmuseum.org.uk. 

External links