F-16s under the control of the Royal Air Force of Oman are to receive follow-on support
including support equipment, communications equipment, personnel training, spare and repair parts, publications, Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP), Contractor Engineer Technical Services (CETS), Technical Coordination Group (TCG), International Engine Management Program (IEMP), Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory (PMEL) calibration and technical orders. The sale is estimated to be worth up to $260 million.
Oman is located on the eastern Arabian peninsula next to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and across from Persia. It remains a very strategic country, controlling the Strait of Hormuz’ western bank, and providing an overwatch position for both the entrance to the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean near Africa. The Royal Air Force of Oman (al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman) currently flies F-16 Block 50 fighters, which complement the RAFO’s 18 Jaguar strike aircraft.
Sultan Qaboos’ air force was looking to replace its aging Jaguars, and made inquiries about buying 4+ generation fighters like Eurofighters or even JAS-39 Gripens for this purpose. A formal August 2010 export request for 18 more F-16s raised the possibility of a different approach, but it was actually a both-and strategy. After an F-16 contract was inked, BAE received an RFP for its Eurofighter, which also turned into a contract. With these buys, plus a handful of new jet trainers, the RAFO’s fighter modernization looks to be complete.
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