Royal Jordanian Air Force

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

In 1923, after taking over the League of Nations mandate for Transjordan, the British established a military security force manned by local Arabs called the Arabs Legion. This force fought very successfully in World War Two. After the Israeli War of Independence, a small air unit called the Arab Legion Air Force (ALAF) was established in 1949 – largely manned by British personnel. In 1950 the training of Arab personnel began. The ALAF soon expanded and in 1955 received its first jet aircraft. In September 1955 the ALAF was renamed the Royal Jordanian Air Force.

Key Dates

22 October 1923    Arab Legion established
1949    Arab Legion Air Force first formed
1955    First jet aircraft delivered – Vampire T.11
25 September 1955    Arab Legion Air Force renamed the Royal Jordanian Air Force
1958    First helicopters received – Westland Widgeon

Current Status

To be added.

Future Plans

Take delivery of 2 Ilyushin Il-76MF freighters.
A batch of six locally assembled Kamov Ka-226 helicopters is on order.

Markings

National Insignia

Current — Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbers

The Jordanian military serial numbering system consists of a three or four digit mumber, e.g. 840 for a Hunter FGA.73A and 314 for an Alouette III. Serials are not reused once a type has been retired.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used.

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

False reports of aircraft on order or in service

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Amman.

Organisational Structure

The RJAF is organised into two commands, Operations Command for combat, transport and reconnaissance units and Training Command for primary and basic flying training. There is also a Special Operations Aviation Brigade, which appears to operate independently of the normal command structure.

Current Order of Battle

Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle

List of Historical Orders of Battle – to be added.

All-Time Flying Units List

To be added.

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

The main air bases currently used are Al Jafr, Al Mafraq, Amman-Marka IAP, El Azraq, H5 and Zarqa.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

In addition to the main bases, here are also a number of smaller airports and airfields around the country which are sometimes used by the Air Force.
Military Air Bases Listing – to be added.

More Information

Books

Jordanian Military Aviation Bibliography – to be added.

Magazines

To be added.

Websites

Official Jordanian Air Force webpage

wikipedia: Jordanian Air Force

Scramble: Jordanian Air Force

PlanePictures.net

Airliners.net

Air-Britain Photos: Jordanian Air Force

Facebook: Royal Jordanian Air Force

The Royal Jordanian Airforce

Air Bases and Airfields

of the Royal Bahraini Air Force

This page gives details of the air bases and airfields which are, or have been, used by the Royal Bahraini Air Force.

(Google map to be added).

Click on each Name for more details

Location Name ICAO IATA Status
Muharraq Bahrain International Airport OBBI BAH active
Muharraq Muharraq Airfield OBBI active
Riffa Riffa Air Base n/a active
Sakhir Sakhir Air Base OBKH active
Shaikh Isa Shaikh Isa Air Base OBBS active

National Markings
Bahrain Air Force

This section describes and illustrates the various national insignia used by the Royal Bahraini Air Force since its formation:



Main MarkingFin Flash

1977-1985
The Bahrain Amiri Defence Force was formed in 1977. Fixed-wing aircraft carried the national flag as a fin flash. No national markings were carried on the wings. Helicopters carried the national flag on the fuselage sides.




Main MarkingFin Flash

1985-present
In 1985 a new roundel was introduced, featuring the national colours of brick red and white. The national flag fin flash was unchanged. The main marking is normally displayed on the fuselage sides of helicopters, and USAF-style positions on fixed-wing aircraft (i.e. fuselage sides and upper port wing and lower starboard wing). The abbreviation BAAF is carried on the upper starboard and lower port wing of fixed-wing aircraft. The service titles ROYAL BAHRAINI AIR FORCE in Arabic and English are carried on the fuselage sides of all aircraft and helicopters (replacing the previous BAHRAIN AMIRI AIR FORCE titles).

Aircraft Not Used

by the Royal Bahraini Air Force


This page gives details of some of the aircraft types that were offered or promised to the Royal Bahraini Air Force but not delivered, cancelled official orders, and types have been falsely reported as being in service.

Boeing AH-64A Apache
In October 1990 the US Congress approved the supply of eight AH-64A attack helicopters to Bahrain, but the offer was declined. Sources: World Ar Power Journal Vol 5 Spring 1991 p.9, Worldmil (1996) p.51.

British Aerospace Hawk
In 1994, the BAAF came close to signing an order for the BAe Hawk, but chose to procure additional F-16s instead. Source: World Air Power Journal Vol 26 Autumn 1996 p.113

Lockheed C-130B Hercules
A deal to acquire two C-130B fell through in early 1994.

Lockheed Martin F-16N Fighting Falcon
During 1995-96 the BAAF considered buying 18 ex-US Navy F-16Ns, which had been retired from service in January 1995, but rejected the deal and eventually procured more new-build examples. Although much cheaper than surplus USAF F-16A/B aircraft, the F-16Ns had high fatigue counts and would require considerable upgrading to equip them to USAF F-16 standards. Source: World Air Power Journal Vol 23 Winter 1995 p.10 and World Air Power Journal Vol 27 Winter 1996 p.10.

Northrop F-20A Tigershark
Four F-20As were requested in 1982, along with two F-5Fs for conversion training, but the order size was insufficient to justify starting F-20 production and the US offered to supply F-5E aircraft instead. Source: World Air Power Journal Vol 25 Summer 1996 p.90.

The following aircraft types have been reported as serving with the BAAF, but actually serve with the Royal Flight:
Gulfstream II, Boeing 727, Boeing 747SP, Gulfstream III.

The following aircraft types have been reported as serving with the RBAF, but actually serve with the Bahrain Public Security Force: Westland Scout, Hughes 369D (‘Hughes 500D’), Sikorsky S-76, Bell 412, Bell 427 (‘Bell 430’).

Historical Order of Battle: 2002

for the Royal Bahraini Air Force

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Type Base
1st Fighter Wing
1st Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40 Shaikh Isa AB
2nd Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40 Shaikh Isa AB
6th Fighter Squadron Northrop F-5E/F Shaikh Isa AB
Helicopter Wing
3 Squadron Agusta-Bell AB.212 Rifa’a AB
5 Squadron* MBB Bo 105CBS-MSS Rifa’a AB
7 Squadron MBB Bo 105C Rifa’a AB
8 Squadron Bell AH-1E Rifa’a AB
9 Squadron Sikorsky UH-60A/L Rifa’a AB
10 Squadron Bell AH-1E Rifa’a AB

* = Bahrain Amiri Navy unit.

Historical Orders of Battle

for the Royal Bahraini Air Force

Historical orders of battle for the BAAF are listed for the following dates:
1976   1986   1991   1995   2002   Table of Current Order of Battle

1976

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Type Base
Bahrain Defense Force
Air Wing MBB Bo 105C Bahrain Intl. Airport (Manama)

1986

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Type Base
1st Fighter Wing
6th Fighter Squadron Northrop F-5E/F Bahrain Intl. Airport (Manama)
Helicopter Wing
3 Squadron Agusta-Bell AB.212 Bahrain Intl. Airport (Manama)
7 Squadron MBB Bo 105C Bahrain Intl. Airport (Manama)

1991

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Type Base
1st Fighter Wing
1st Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40 Shaikh Isa AB
6th Fighter Squadron Northrop F-5E/F Shaikh Isa AB
Helicopter Wing
3 Squadron Agusta-Bell AB.212 Bahrain Intl. Airport (Manama)
7 Squadron MBB Bo 105C Bahrain Intl. Airport (Manama)

1995

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Type Base
1st Fighter Wing
1st Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40 Shaikh Isa AB
6th Fighter Squadron Northrop F-5E/F Shaikh Isa AB
Helicopter Wing
3 Squadron Agusta-Bell AB.212 Rifa’a AB
5 Squadron* MBB Bo 105CBS-MSS Rifa’a AB
7 Squadron MBB Bo 105C Rifa’a AB
8 Squadron Bell AH-1E** Rifa’a AB

* = Bahrain Amiri Navy unit.
** = unit forming.

Current Order of Battle
Bahrain Air Force

Click on unit title for more details

Squadron Type Base
1st Fighter Wing
1st Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40 Shaikh Isa AB
2nd Fighter Squadron Lockheed Martin F-16C/D Block 40 Shaikh Isa AB
6th Fighter Squadron Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II Shaikh Isa AB
4th Squadron Slingsby T.67 Firefly Shaikh Isa AB
Helicopter Wing
3 Squadron Agusta-Bell AB.212 Rifa’a AB
5 Squadron* MBB Bo 105CBS-MSS Rifa’a AB
7 Squadron MBB Bo 105C Rifa’a AB
8 Squadron Bell AH-1E Rifa’a AB
9 Squadron Sikorsky UH-60A/L Rifa’a AB
10 Squadron Bell AH-1E Rifa’a AB

* = Royal Bahraini Navy unit.

Royal Bahraini Air Force

Operator Profile

History

Narrative Summary

Upon the independence of Bahrain in 1971, the primary security force in the country was Bahrain Public Security, formerly known as the Bahrain State Police. This organisation possessed a small Flying Wing which operated two helicopters.

An all-service military organisation called the Bahrain Defense Force (BDF) was established soon after independence. The BDF formed an Air Wing in 1976, in order to operate two MBB Bo 105C helicopters for liaison and communications duties. A third Bo 105C was later acquired. The BDF and Bahrain Public Security maintained close relations, with personnel and helicopters frequently working together. Bell 412 and Sikorsky S-76 helicopters were specifically acquired for a dual Police/Air Wing role. All flying was conducted from Bahrain International Airport at Manama.

Plans were soon formulated for an expansion into jet fighter operation, but an initial application to the USA for F-5E aircraft was refused by the Carter administration. The incoming Reagan administration took a different view. Bahrain’s interest in the Northrop F-20A Tigershark was welcomed, but the proposed order was too small to justify starting production of this new type and the F-5E was offered instead. An agreement for the procurement of a squadron of F-5E/F Tiger II fighters was signed in 1985, and deliveries commenced before the end of the same year.

In the meantime, in 1984, the Gulf Co-operation Council had agreed to fund the construction of a large modern air base in the south of Sitra island, which would be ideal for the new fighter unit and also available for the use of other GCC members. Unfortunately, economic difficulties in Saudi Arabia – the main contributor to the GCC – caused delays in funding for the project. It wasn’t until the US stepped in with material assistance in 1987 that construction got underway. The F-5s were moved to the new base, known as a Shaikh Isa Air Base, as soon as it was completed.

In 1987, the BDF was reorganised into separate Army, Navy and Air force branches with the Air Wing becoming the Bahrain Amiri Air Force (BAAF). The delivery of a squadron of F-16s from 1990 marked a further increase in the capabilities of the air arm. The new F-16 unit was based at Shaikh Isa AB alongside the F-5s. On 2 August 1990 several aircraft from the Kuwait Air Force were evacuated to Bahrain during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. During the subsequent Gulf War, BAAF F-5s and F-16s first flew defensive missions on 25 January 1991 and began offensive operations the following day. The Gulf War ended on 28 February 1991.

A second batch of F-16s commenced delivery in 2000. The new aircraft were equipped to carry the AIM-120 AMRAAM missile, first used by the USAF in the Gulf War. The original batch of F-16s received will be upgraded to carry the AMRAAM also. In July 2000, Bahrain signed a deal with BAE SYSTEMS to establish a pilot academy based around the Hawk trainer – similar to the NFTC in Canada. Subsequently, orders were placed for Slingsby T.67 Fireflys and BAE Hawk 100 trainers. Following constitutional changes in the country, in February 2002 the official name of the air force was changed to Royal Bahraini Air Force (RBAF).

Key Dates

1976    Bahrain Defense Force Air Wing established
December 1985    First jet fighters delivered
1987    BDF Air Wing renamed Bahrain Amiri Air Force
1987    Construction of Shaikh Isa Air Base started
1990    First F-16s delivered
26 January 1991    First offensive missions flown by BAAF in Gulf War
October 2000    Second batch of F-16s delivered
January 2002    BAE SYSTEMS contracted to establish Flying Training School for RBAF
February 2002    Official name changed to Royal Bahraini Air Force

Current Status

To be added.

Future Plans

No future procurement plans known.

F-16C serial 111 photographed
at Muharraq in 1991 (photo, John Cotterill)

Markings

National Insignia

Current — Historical

Aircraft Serial Numbers

1976-1985
Helicopers procured for the BDF Air Wing carried a three figure serial number prefixed by the letters BDF, eg: BDF-761, where the first two numbers represent the year of procurement, in this case 1976, and the last number was taken from an overall sequence which did not reset at the start of each year.

1985-Present
From 1985, a new military serialling system was introduced. This comprised a three-digit serial number without any prefix letters. The numbers are not issued sequentially and feature ‘blackout’ blocks of skipped-over numbers, eg: 152 and 154 are consecutive deliveries of F-16Ds.

Unit/Base Codes

Coding system not used

Aircraft

Aircraft Designations

None – Manufacturers designations used.

Current Aircraft Inventory

Table of Current Service Aircraft

All-Time Aircraft Used List

All-Time Table of Aircraft Used

Aircraft NOT Used

False reports of aircraft on order or in service

Organisation

Main Headquarters

Royal Bahraini Air Force, Air Operations Centre, P.O. Box 245, Bahrain.

Organisational Structure

The Royal Bahraini Air Force is divided ten squadrons of aircraft and helicopters, located at two main air bases. Fixed wing aircraft are based at Shaikh Isa AB and rotary wing aircraft at Rifa’a.

Current Order of Battle

Table of Current Order of Battle

Historical Orders of Battle

Table of Historical Orders of Battle

All-Time Flying Units List

1st Fighter Squadron
2nd Fighter Squadron
3 Squadron
4 Squadron
5 Squadron [Navy]
6th Fighter Squadron
7 Squadron
8 Squadron
9 Squadron
10 Squadron

Air Bases

Current Air Bases

Air bases currently used are Shaikh Isa and Rifa’a.

All-Time Air Bases Used List

Air bases currently used are Shaikh Isa and Rifa’a. Prior to the opening of Shaikh Isa, Manama Airport was used by the Air Force.
Military Air Bases Listing

More Information

Books

Bahrain Aviation Bibliography – to be added

Magazines

World Air Power Journal Vol 26 Autumn 1996 p.112-115 (photo feature)

Websites

Bahrain Air Force

wikipedia: Royal Bahraini Air Force

militaryphotos.net

Any further photographs illustrating this air arm would be welcome.