The Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO — سلاح الجو السلطاني عمان - Silāḥ al-Jaww as-Sulṭāniy ‘Umān) is the air arm of the Armed Forces of Oman
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.
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.
In 1990 the SOAF was renamed the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO). 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. 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.
Oman was considering the purchase of either Eurofighter Typhoon or JAS 39 Gripen aircraft, 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.
|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|
|F-16 Fighting Falcon||United States||multirole fighter||F-16C||17|
|Eurofighter Typhoon||United Kingdom||multirole fighter||Single-seater||9|
|BAE Hawk 200||United Kingdom||light multirole||203||10|
|CASA C-295||Spain||maritime patrol||4|
|C-130 Hercules||United States||transport||C-130H||3|
|C-130J Super Hercules||United States||tactical airlift||2||one aircraft is a C-130J-30|
|Bell 206||United States||utility||4|
|NHIndustries NH90||France||utility / transport||18||1 on order|
|Aérospatiale SA330||France||transport / utility||2|
|Eurocopter EC225||France||transport / utility||2|
|Westland Lynx||United Kingdom||ASW||Super Lynx 120||15|
|Eurofighter Typhoon||United Kingdom||conversion trainer||Twin-seater||3|
|BAE Hawk||United Kingdom||advanced trainer||103||10||2 on order|
|F-16 Fighting Falcon||United States||conversion trainer||F-16D||6|
|PAC Super Mushshak||Pakistan||trainer||7|
|Bell 429 GlobalRanger||United States||trainer||5|
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