|Royal Bahraini Air Force|
سلاح الجو الملكي البحريني
Flag of the Royal Bahraini Air Force
|Active||1977 – Present|
1,500 active personnel (2009)|
100 aircraft (2009).
Ministry of Defense|
Bahrain Defense Force
|Headquarters||Bahrain International Airport|
Invasion of Kuwait|
|Commander||Maj Gen Hamad bin Abdullah Al Khalifa|
The Royal Bahraini Air Force (abbreviated as RBAF, formerly known as Bahrain Amiri Air Force) is the aerial warfare branch of the Bahrain Defense Force. The air force had 650 personnel in 1992 and 1,500 in 2009.
History[edit | edit source]
In 1987, the Bahrain Defense Force was reorganized 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 Sheik Isa Air Base 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 carried out the first F-5s and F-16s 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 AMRAAM missile, first used by the USAF in 1992. 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 T67 Firefly and BAE Hawk trainers. The first trainers were delivered in October 2006. After the elections on 14 February 2002, the state changed from an emirate to a kingdom resulting in the renaming of the Armed Forces. Since then the air force was called the RBAF rather than BAAF. According to Sikorsky’s announcement in June 2007, Bahrain confirmed the purchase of nine UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters. The helicopters will be used in a variety of roles, including combat search and rescue.
The British government is in early talks with Bahrain over a potential order for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter. Bahrain is considering buying the Eurofighter Typhoon, the JAS 39 Gripen, the Dassault Rafale, or the F-35 Lightning II.
Incidents and accidents[edit | edit source]
Fleet[edit | edit source]
|Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon||110px||United States||Fighter Aircraft||F16C
|18 delivered between 1990 and 2000. One F-16 was lost on 27 September 2003 when it crashed in the Persian Gulf, 75 km (47 mi) north of Bahrain|
Based at Isa Air Base
|Northrop F-5||United States||Fighter Aircraft||F5E
|Based at Isa Air Base|
|BAE Hawk||110px||United Kingdom||Trainer||129||6||Based at Isa Air Base|
|Slingsby T67 Firefly||110px||United Kingdom||Trainer||T67M-260||3||Based at Isa Air Base|
|BAe 146||United Kingdom||Transport||1|
|Bell AH-1 Cobra||110px||United States||Attack helicopter||AH-1E
|Based at Riffa Air Base|
|Bell 212 Twin Huey||Italy||Utility helicopter||11||Based at Riffa Air Base|
|MBB BO-105||Germany||Utility helicopter||3||Based at Riffa Air Base|
|Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk||110px||United States||Utility helicopter||UH-60L
Bahrain ordered 9 UH-60Ms in 2007. 7 more on order as of December 2011
|Bell 412||110px||United States||Utility helicopter||2||Currently in use by the Bahraini Police|
|Bell 427||110px||United States||Utility helicopter||1||Currently in use by the Bahraini Police|
Order of battle[edit | edit source]
1st Fighter Wing (Isa Air Base)[edit | edit source]
- 1st Fighter Squadron – F-16C/D Block 40
- 2nd Fighter Squadron – F-16C/D Block 40
- 6th Fighter Squadron – Northrop F-5E/F
- 5th Squadron – British Aerospace Hawk
- 4th Squadron – Slingsby T-67 Firefly
Helicopter Wing (Riffa Air Base)[edit | edit source]
- 3 Squadron – Agusta-Bell AB.212
- 8 Squadron – Bell AH-1E
- 9 Squadron – Bell AH-1E
- 10 Squadron – MBB Bo 105C
Bases[edit | edit source]
|Isa Air Base||9.7 kilometres (6.0 mi) south of Jaww||Single 3,790 metres (12,430 ft)||Home to 1st Fighter Wing|
|Sakhir Air Base||West of Mountain of Smoke||Helipad and short runway||Built in 1976.|
|Riffa Air Base||3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) south east of Riffa||Single 175 metres (574 ft) runway and multiple helipads||Home to the Helicopter Wing|
|Muharraq Air Base||Located within BIA||Was once an Royal Air Force station; now used by the USAF called Aviation Support Unit (ASU) Bahrain.|
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- A Country Study: Bahrain, Library of Congress.
- "Chapter Five: Middle East and North Africa". Routledge. 2009. p. 229. Digital object identifier:10.1080/04597220802709902.
- "Royal Bahraini Air Force", Scramble on the Web.
- Bahraini Air Force Typhoon Order In Prospect - Armedforces-Int.com, 8 August 2013
- F-16.net :: F-16 Airframe Details – RBAF F-16C # 204
- Flight International
- F-16 Air Forces - Bahrain :: F-16.net
- "Selected Acquisition Report – UH-60M Black Hawk" (PDF). US Department of Defense. December 31, 2011. p. 18. http://www.dod.gov/pubs/foi/logistics_material_readiness/acq_bud_fin/SARs/DEC%202011%20SAR/UH-60M%20BLACK%20HAWK%20-%20SAR%20-%2031%20DEC%202011.pdf.
- "Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, 2003–2010" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. p. 7. http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/174196.pdf.
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