Air Forces of Small Gulf States like Bahrain, Kuwait or Oman (excluding Qatar)

OPSSG

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Air Forces of Small Gulf States

1. In Jan 2018, the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) inducted the first of its 12 newly acquired Eurofighter Typhoon fighters. The RAFO already operates 23 Block 50 Lockheed Martin F-16C/D s (of 24 originally ordered), and placed an order for 10 F-16C Block 50s, and 2 F-16D Block 50s, as the second batch of these aircraft in Dec 2011.

2. A source described the Jun 2018 sale of 16 F-16V Block 70s to Bahrain as “Lockheed’s pass to keep its F-16 production line open for the next three to five years.” In return, the Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF) is in a crucial need of upgrading its fleet to keep up with other Gulf nations, the source added. “It’s a win-win situation; Bahrain needs the F-16, and the F-16 needs Bahrain.” Bahrain also procured
  • 32 AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM missiles
  • one AIM-120C-7 AMRAAM guidance section
  • 32 AIM-9X missiles
  • 20 AGM-84 Block II Harpoon missiles
  • 2 ATM-84L-1 Block II Harpoon missiles
  • 40 AGM-154 JSOW all-up-rounds
  • 50 AGM-88B HARM
  • 4 AGM-88 HARM training missiles
3. On 7 Feb 2019 by the US Department of Defence, notified Congress on the acquisition of 12 Bell AH-1Z Viper helicopters by the RBAF; this includes T-700 GE 401C engines, Thales’ TopOwl helmet-mounted display system, M197 20 mm guns, as well as optronic and electronic on board systems. Also included are Hellfire missiles and APKWS (Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System) 70 mm guided rockets.

4. In Jun 2019, the U.S. Senate on rejected Sen. Rand Paul’s measures to block sales of munitions to Bahrain
 
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OPSSG

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1. In Jun 2018, it was reported that Kuwait bought 22 of the single-seat F/A-18E Super Hornets and 6 of the two-seat F/A-18F Super Hornets. The Kuwaiti Super Hornets are an interesting hybrid. Often erroneously referred to as Block III jets, the standard for the Kuwait Air Force (KAF) is actually somewhere between the existing Block II and the Block III that’s now in production for the US Navy.

2. Kuwait already operates 28 Eurofighters ordered from Italy in Sep 2015. Investigations by Kuwait’s permanent parliamentary committee to try the ministers involved in the Eurofighter aircraft deal have reportedly found misappropriation of state funds in securing a deal for the fighter jets.
  • The Typhoon contract includes training of an initial eight KAF instructor pilots, plus ground personnel, with the Italian Air Force and an upgrade of infrastructure at Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait.
  • The probe has currently run into a stalemate over movement restrictions and health protocols that have been imposed in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but there are several questions and doubts that have already cropped up over the contentious defence agreement.
  • Kuwait in recent years initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus — $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.

3. In Dec 2020, it was reported that Kuwait will buy 8 new AH-64Es and plans to remanufacture the 16 AH-64 Delta models it purchased in 2005 into the E-model configuration. The purchase would include new and remanufactured T700-GE-701D engines, new and remanufactured AN/AAR-57 Counter Missile Warning Systems, and embedded GPS with inertial navigation and multimode receivers.
 
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OPSSG

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The Royal Bahraini Air Force operates 17 F-16Cs and is an existing user of the AH-1, so getting new Z series helicopters makes perfect sense.

In late Oct 2021, NAVAIR took delivery of its 1st of 12 AH-1Z Viper helicopters destined for Bahrain (next year)— Bell continues to work to deliver aircraft to the U.S. Marine Corps, Bahrain and Czech Republic.

These Bahraini helicopters will be equipped with the TopOwl helmet mounted display that is used by the ACE of the US Marines in their AH-1Z Viper, and UH-1Y Venom fleet and Singapore’s H225M fleet.
 
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