Oman’s Air Force Upgrades: From Jaguars to F-16s & Eurofighters

RAFO F-16Cs w. CFTs

RAFO F-16s
(click to view full)

May 31/16: F-16s under the control of the Royal Air Force of Oman are to receive follow-on support external link 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.


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RAFO F-16Cs w. CFTs(click to view full) 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 […]
Omani F-16Cs

RAFO F-16Cs w. CFTs
(click to view full)

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.

The Sultanate of Oman

History & Geopolitics

Persian Gulf Map

The Persian Gulf
(click to view full)

Oman (pron. Uman) is located on the eastern Arabian peninsula next to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, and across from Persia. It has historically been a multi-ethnic society, and its combination of a bleak interior and near-coast mountains have served as a formidable barrier for would-be conquerors. The moderate Omani Ibadi form of Islam has been one result. An outward looking focus, and long history of trade, also followed.

In the 1640s, an alliance between the Al-Yaribi tribe and Britain defeated the Portuguese, who had controlled Muscat. Afterward, it led to an Omani empire stretching to Zanzibar and beyond, reaching down Africa’s eastern coast and across the Strait of Hormuz to the port of Gwadur (now Pakistan’s Gwadar).

The end of the slave trade collapsed that empire, but Oman found a new resource: geography. Even in its collapsed state, Oman still controlled the western Musandam Peninsula of the Strait of Hormuz, and lay across the Persian Gulf’s sea approaches. Britain, once an ally, became more of a full guarantor. The critical telegraph cable from Britain to India landed in Oman. Which is how British troops posted to the utterly desolate Jazirat al Maqlab island, located “around the bend” of the Musandam, gave the English language a new slang phrase for madness.

Relations with Britain have remained close through the windfalls of the Middle East’s oil and gas bonanza. Oman’s traditional protector was instrumental in defeating a significant Marxist insurgency from 1965-1976, in a relatively unheralded campaign that still offers interesting lessons in multinational counterinsurgency.

Sultan Qaboos’ country remains strategically important, and official political and military relations with America and Britain are close. The Strait of Hormuz remains important to Oman’s military preparations, but the nation has also played a quietly useful role in counter-piracy activities around the western Indian Ocean and Horn of Africa. The RAFO’s forthcoming C-295 MPA maritime patrol planes will help them extend that role, replacing their aged Seavan fleet.

Iran is regarded very warily, but without overt hostility. Unofficially, Oman’s location makes it the embarkation point for many of the smuggled foreign civilian trade goods, foodstuffs, etc. that make up Iran’s internal black market.

The Royal Air Force of Oman

AdA Jaguar

French Jaguar
(click to view full)

The al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Sultanat Oman (RAFO) currently has 3 full fighter squadrons. RAFO 10 squadron finished its conversion from Jaguar strike aircraft to F-16C/D Block 50/52+ fighters in 2006, but 8 sq and 20 sq continue to operate the old Jaguars, as this extreme low-level flight video shows. The fighters are all formally based at Thumrayt in the southwest, near the border with Yemen and away from the entrance to the Gulf. With that said, they have been known to operate from Seeb air base in the northeast, near the capital of Muscat.

Masirah air base on Oman’s central coast houses RAFO 6 squadron’s mixed set of single-seat Hawk 203 light fighter/ advanced trainer fleet and 2-seat Hawk 103 jet trainers. The base also hosts RAFO 1 squadron’s Super Mushshak primary trainers and Pilatus PC-9M basic trainer aircraft, alongside some of Oman’s Super Lynx Mk.120 search-and-rescue helicopters.


RAFO Hawks
click for video

Once the 8 new Hawks arrive at Masirah, the 4 old Hawk Mk.103 trainers will be phased out in favor of the more advanced Hawk Mk.128 LIFT. The RAFO’s 11 single-seat Hawk 203 fighters are currently used as advanced trainers, and the new Mk.128s could easily replace them, too. On the other hand the Hawk 203s’ APG-66H radars and weapons array give them a dual-role value that could prompt Oman to keep them in service.

Oman has begun building the new Adam air base about 100 miles SW of Muscat. It’s within Oman’s interior, and shielded from the Gulf approaches by a spine of mountains that would become natural sites for air defenses. It’s an excellently protected location that would still allow strong air patrols along Oman’s north and the Straits, and it is widely believed that at least some of the Eurofighters will be housed there.

In December 2012 the Sultanate upgraded its trainer fleet with new Hawks, and bought 12 Eurofighter Typhoons to accompany their F-16 Falcons. The Typhoons will become the country’s high-end air superiority fighters, with a secondary strike role behind the more versatile Falcons. Oman joins their neighbor Saudi Arabia as local Eurofighter operators, and this new regional buy could strengthen the plane’s odds in fellow Gulf Cooperation Council countries the UAE and Qatar.

The December 2011 and December 2012 contracts will give the RAFO a future combat force of 12 Eurofighters and 24 F-16 Block 50s (18 F-16Cs, 6 F-16Ds). Another 6 F-16s are available on option, if the RAFO wants to add to that total.

Contracts & Key Events


RAFO F-16Cs w. CFTs

RAFO F-16s
(click to view full)

May 31/16: 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.

2013 – 2014

Sept 15/14: Hawks. L-3 Link Simulation & Training announces a sub-contract from BAE Systems to develop the Hawk Oman Training System (HOTS, which is expected to achieve its ready-for-training milestone during the first quarter of 2017. The simulators will prepare Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) pilots to operate BAE Systems’ Hawk Mk.166 derivative of the Mk.128 LIFT. Sources: L-3 Communications, “L-3 Receives Award to Develop Hawk Oman Training System”.

July 22/14: F-16 Delivery. Oman’s first 4 F-16 Block 50s from the new production batch of 12 take off from NAS Fort Worth to Oman. Lockheed Martin Code One Magazine, “Oman Delivery”.

F-16-II: 1st arrivals

April 3/14: F-16 delivery. The RAFO accepts the 1st F-16 from its recent order, an F-16C Block 50, at a ceremony in Fort Worthm TX. The plane will ferry to Oman later in 2014. Sources: Lockheed Martin, “Oman Air Force Continues F-16 Legacy” | Arabian Aerospace, “Oman accepts first F-16 from second order”.

Feb 17/13: F-16 Support. BAE Systems announces a $23 million contract to provide F-16 support equipment, test systems, and spares to the government of Oman. BAE will develop and deliver these items from its Fort Worth, Texas facility by early 2014.

The F-16 isn’t a BAE product, but they deliver similar equipment and services to more than 24 countries worldwide. They’re also carving out a role in F-16 electronic upgrades, with customers in South Korea, Turkey, and the US Air National Guard. Oman’s F-16s only began arriving in 2005, but if they’re interested in upgrading later on, BAE’s position supporting Oman’s F-16 and Eurofighter fleets should make them a very strong competitor.


Eurofighter & Hawk trainer contract; F-16 weapons & ancillaries ordered; F-16 weapons request.

RSAF Eurofighter Typhoons

Saudi Eurofighters
(click to view full)

Dec 21/12: Eurofighters. It isn’t Christmas over there, but the RAFO is getting a present anyway. The Sultanate signs a GBP 2.5 billion (about $4.057 billion) deal with Britain for 12 Eurofighters, and 8 Hawk LIFT advanced trainers. This makes them the Eurofighter Typhoon’s 3rd export customer, a status they share with their neighbor Saudi Arabia.

The new Hawk Mk.128 LIFTs (Lead-In Fighter Trainers) will replace 4 old Hawk Mk.103 trainers with 8 jets whose modern displays, capabilities, and built-in simulation offer pilots a more faithful bridge to the RAFO’s advanced F-16s and Eurofighters. The new Hawk buy also gives them trainer commonality with the Saudis.

The deal includes in-service support, and deliveries are expected to begin in 2017. UK MoD | BAE | Eurofighter GmbH | Arabian Aerospace | The Telegraph.

Contract: 12 Eurofighters + 8 Hawks

Dec 12/12: Weapons. The US DSCA announces Oman’s export request for weapons to equip its existing and ordered F-16s. Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Oman involving “many” U.S. Government or contractor representatives over a period of up to or over 15 years for program and technical support and training. The request includes:

* 27 AIM-120-C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM)
* 162 GBU-12 PAVEWAY II 500-pound Laser Guided Bombs
* 162 FMU-152 bomb fuzes
* 150 BLU-111B/B 500-pound Conical Fin General Purpose Bombs (Freefall Tail)
* 60 BLU-111B/B 500-pound Retarded Fin General Purpose Bombs (Ballute Tail)
* 32 CBU-105 GPS-guided Wind Corrected Munitions Dispensers (WCMD)
* 20mm projectiles and training munitions
* Aerial Gunnery Target System (AGTS-36)
* Plus flares, chaff, containers, impulse cartridges, weapon support equipment and components, repair and return, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, site survey, and other US government and contractor support.

Equipment notes: The AIM-120-C7 is the most advanced model of AMRAAM the USA will export. BLU-111 bombs are loaded with a less sensitive explosive filler, but otherwise perform as normal Mk.82 bombs. WCMDs are cluster bombs that target and destroy armored vehicles, after their GPS guidance gets the sub-munitions into seeker range. The principal contractors will be:

* Raytheon Company in Waltham, MA (AMRAAM, Paveway)
* Textron Defense Systems in Wilmington, MA (WCMD)
* General Dynamics in Falls Church, VA (Bombs)
* McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, OK

The estimated cost is up to $117 million, but exact costs will be determined by any negotiated contracts.

DSCA request: Weapons

Oct 12/12: Retrofit. Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, TX receives a $94.7 million firm-fixed-price contract “for retrofit of 12 F-16 C/D Block 60 multi-role fighter aircraft” for the government of Oman. This is a typo: Block 60s are F-16 E/Fs, flown only by the UAE. Looks like Oman is moving to bring all of its F-16 Block 50 planes to a common configuration.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX, and is expected to be complete by May 16/16. The AFLCMC/WWMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract on behalf of its Foreign Military Sales client (FA8615-13-C-6048).

July 13/12: DB-110 pods. Goodrich Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems in Westford, MA receives a $34.3 million firm-fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contract for 4 DB-110 reconnaissance pod systems, for use on Oman’s F-16 Block 50s. Their Aug 13/10 DSCA request had included 4 pods, which reportedly represents a switch from BAE’s F-9120 advanced airborne reconnaissance systems (AARS).

Goodrich’s exportable derivative of the U-2 spy plane’s SYERS cameras offer 3 separate optical fields of view, and the pod is a very popular choice for the F-16. Local customers include Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia (F-15S), and the UAE. The DB-110 can be operated autonomously on F-16s, controlled by the pod’s reconnaissance management system while imagery is viewed on the cockpit video display. Work on this contract is to be complete by December 2016. The ASC/WINK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH manages the contract on behalf of its Foreign Military Sale client.

July 10/12: Sniper pods. Lockheed Martin announces a $23 million contract from the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) to provide more Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods for their F-16 fleet, and upgrade and support the RAFO’s existing Sniper pods to modernize their sensors and electronics.

Oman’s initial F-16 targeting pod request involved Lockheed Martin’s LANTIRN (vid. Oct 4/01 entry). They ended up buying the more advanced PANTERA (now Sniper) pod, and were announced as a PANTERA customer as far back as 2005. The Aug 13/10 DSCA request (q.v.) included up to 18 more Sniper pods, to accompany up to 18 fighters. Oman has bought just 12 more F-16s so far, and if it also orders fewer than 18 Sniper pods, it can buy more later, up to its approved limit.

July 10/12: Eurofighter. Reports from Farnborough shed some light on potential Eurofighter Typhoon sales to Oman, Qatar, and the UAE. BAE Systems’ business development director Alan Garwood told Reuters that:

“We’ll start formal negotiations [for 12 jets] with Oman towards the end of August [2012] I would imagine. The two governments [in Britain and Oman] have targeted it for completion this year and we want it done this year as well… I see no reason why we shouldn’t be able to do that.”

Time will tell. Reuters | WSJ’s The Source blog.

June 13/12: Missiles. The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF] Oman’s formal request for 55 AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder All-Up-Round Missiles, 6 spare AIM-9X Block II Tactical Guidance Units, 36 inert AIM-9X Block II Sidewinder Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM) for exercises, 4 spare AIM-9X Block II CATM Guidance Units, 1 Dummy Air Training Missile for loading practice, plus containers, weapon support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, and other US government & contractor support.

Oman will negotiate with Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, AZ is the prime contractor, and the estimated cost is up to $86 million. Implementation of this proposed sale would require multiple trips to Oman involving U.S. Government or contractor representatives for program and technical support, and management oversight.

The DSCA states that Oman is buying the missiles to modernize its F-16 fleet. The AIM-9X Block II will offer Omani pilots a more maneuverable short-range air-to-air missile with better infrared sensors, a wider seeker angle, and a 2-way datalink that lets pilots launch it against targets behind them. Aircraft generally require some modifications to fully integrate this all-digital missile; fortunately, a tested solution exists for the F-16. That isn’t true for the Eurofighter, however, which maxes out at the AIM-9M. If Oman buys Eurofighters too, they would need to either pay to integrate the AIM-9X on a new platform, or buy similarly-advanced ASRAAM or IRIS-T weapons for use with its new fleet. Or, they could equip the new Eurofighter fleet with existing AIM-9M missiles, removing most of the Eurofighter’s comparative close-combat air superiority over AIM-9X equipped RAFO F-16s.

DSCA request: AIM-9X missiles (55)

April 25/12: F-16 ECM. ITT Corp. (now ITT Exelis) in Clifton, NJ wins a $47.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for 15 AN/ALQ-211v4 AIDEWS(airborne integrated defensive electronic warfare) electronic countermeasures suites, and 2 sets of antenna couplers for support production. AIDEWS beat Raytheon’s ACES system for the contract, and the v4 designation indicates that it will be mounted internally.

The AIDEWS systems are being bought for new RAFO F-16 C/Ds, and work will be performed in Clifton, NJ until Dec 31/14. The Warner Robins Air Logistics Cente at Robins AFB, GA manages the contract (FA8540-12-C-0014).

March 14/12: F-16 Radars. Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems in Linthicum Heights, MD receives an $87.8 million dollar firm-fixed-price Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program contract, to provide 43 AN/APG-68v9 radar systems to the Republic of Iraq (22), the Royal Air Force of Oman (15), and the Royal Thai Air Force (6).

The AN/APG-68v9 is the standard radar for new F-16C/D aircraft. Northrop Grumman cites a 33% increase in air-to-air detection range over earlier versions, plus ground-looking synthetic aperture radar with mapping and 2-foot point target response. They also claim that the radar’s reduced weight, power, and cooling help contribute to 25%-45% lower support costs, though their baseline comparison for those costs isn’t clear.

In Oman’s case, the radars would equip its 12 ordered F-16s, and provide 3 spares. Work will be performed in Linthicum Heights, MD, and is expected to be complete by March 3/15. The ASC/WWMK at Wright Patterson AFB, OH manages this contract (FA8615-12-C-6047).

Jan 23/12: Eurofighter Typhoon RFP. Dow Jones reports that:

“BAE Systems PLC (BA.LN) shares rose Monday after the government of Oman requested a more detailed proposal from the defense giant for the Eurofighter Typhoon… The Omani government issued a “Request For Proposal” to BAE Systems, the prime bidder on behalf of the Eurofighter consortium… BAE Systems will now start more detailed talks for the supply and support of the Typhoon fighter aircraft for the Royal Air Force of Oman, which could lead to a final order for 12 Typhoon aircraft, a company spokeswoman said. “This news underpins the long-standing defence and security relationship between Oman and the United Kingdom and between the armed forces in Oman and BAE Systems, a major supplier of equipment and services to the sultanate,”… BAE declined to comment on the potential value of the deal as negotiations will now include likely talks about the level of in-service support and potential investment in the country, known as offset.”

Eurofighter Typhoon RFP

2010 – 2011

2nd F-16 request, and a contract for 12 more. Eurofighter seems to have an edge.

Omani F-16D

RAFO F-16D Block 50
(click to view full)

Dec 14/11: +12 F-16s. Lockheed Martin Corp. in Fort Worth, TX receives a $600 million dollar firm-fixed-price, time-and-material and cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to provide the government of Oman with 12 more F-16C/D Block 50s, which will give the RAFO a total of 24: 18 F-16Cs, and 6 F-16Ds. The contract also covers support equipment; technical orders; and integrated logistics support – but not expensive items like GE’s F110 engines, Northrop Grumman’s APG-68v9 radar, etc., which must be bought and supported separately.

Work will be performed in Fort Worth, TX until Nov 30/16. This was a sole-source acquisition, and is being managed by the ASC/WWMK at Wright-Patterson AFB, OH on behalf of their Foreign Military Sale client (FA8615-12-C-6011).

The Aug 13/10 DSCA request covered up to 18 fighters, and Oman could still order the other 6 if it chooses. When coupled with Iraq’s order of 18 F-16IQ Block 52s and ongoing requests for more, and a rumored UAE buy of more F-16E/F Block 60s, Middle Eastern sales appear to be taking a lead role in extending the F-16 production line past 2013.

F-16 order #2

Aug 13/10: Both? Jane’s reports that Oman is likely to buy both new F-16s and the Eurofighter, a move that would significantly expand the RAFO’s overall fighter strength.

Aug 3/10: F-16. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Oman’s formal request to upgrade its existing F-16 fleet, and buy 18 F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft and associated equipment, parts, training and support for an estimated cost of up to $3.5 billion. Items requested include:

* 18 Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 50/52 aircraft
* 20 Pratt & Whitney F100-PW-229 or GE F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines (current RAFO F-16s use F110s)
* 24 Northrop Grumman AN/APG-68v9 radar sets
* 20 General Dynamics ATP M61 20mm Vulcan Cannons
* Conformal fuel tanks (CFT), number unspecified
* 36 LAU-129/A Common Rail Launchers
* 36 LAU-117 MAVERICK missile launchers
* Cartridge Actuated Devices/Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD), number unspecified
* 22 AN/ARC-238 Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio Systems with HAVE QUICK I/II
* 22 ITT AN/ALQ-211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (AIDEWS) or Raytheon’s Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES) with the ALQ-187 electronic warfare system and ALR-93 radar warning receiver
* 22 AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispensing Systems (CMDS)
* 18 Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER surveillance and targeting pods, “or similarly capable system”
* 4 Goodrich DB-110 Reconnaissance Pods (RECCE)
* 40 VSI/Boeing Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing Systems
* Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) Systems with Mode IV
* 34 Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Embedded-GPS/Inertial Navigation Systems (INS)
* 35 of Raytheon’s ALE-50 Towed Decoys
* Ground based flight simulator
* Existing fleet upgrades and modification kits
* Site survey and construction.
* Support equipment
* Tanker support and ferry services
* Repair and return, spares and repair parts, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other forms of U.S. Government and contractor support

The numbers of some of these items suggest their use as general fleet upgrades, as opposed to merely being equipment that comes with the new fighters. The number of JHMCS helmets, for instance, is almost certainly a fleet-wide buy. The principal contractors could include:

* BAE Advanced Systems Greenlawn, NY
* Boeing Company Seattle, WA
* Boeing Integrated Defense Systems in St Louis, MO; Long Beach, CA; and San Diego, CA
* Raytheon Company in Lexington, MA and Goleta, CA
* Raytheon Missile Systems Tucson, AZ
* Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Fort Worth, TX
* Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control in Dallas, TX
* Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training and Support in Fort Worth, TX
* Northrop-Grumman Electro-Optical Systems in Garland, TX
* Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems in Baltimore, MD
* Pratt & Whitney United Technology Company in East Hartford, CT
* General Electric Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, OH
* Goodrich ISR Systems in Danbury, CT
* L3 Communications Arlington, TX
* ITT Defense Electronics and Services in McLean, VA
* Symetrics Industries in Melbourne, FL

Implementation of this proposed sale will require multiple trips to Oman involving U.S. Government and contractor representatives for technical reviews/support, program management, and training over a period of 15 years.

Note that DSCA requests are not contracts, simply a necessary stage for clearance to buy items designated as military equipment under US laws. Oman eventually did buy some of these F-16s, but at this point, a DSCA request could mean a number of things, from mere contender status, to F-16s picked over other options like Eurofighter, to a parallel procurement program (which is what it turned out to be).

DSCA request: F-16s (18)

April 2/10: Eurofighter. Britain’s BBC News reports that the Sultan of Oman has confirmed the country’s intention to buy the Eurofighter. What’s new is the official source of the confirmation.

This is not an order, and neither numbers nor costs were mentioned in the report. With Eurofighter Tranche 3A already ordered as Britain’s final Eurofighter purchase, the question of whether Oman’s order would be filled by redirected British aircraft also remains unresolved. Britain cut its Tranche 3 order for full capability aircraft from 88 to just 40, but looming budget issues could still force the country to give up some of its existing and ordered planes. A full defense review is expected in 2010-2011.

2001 – 2009

Initial F-16 request, order & deliveres. European contenders for Jaguar replacement.

Eurofighter Armed GBU-16 Paveway-IIs

Eurofighter w. Paveway IIs
(click to view full)

May 10/09: Eurofighter. The Financial Mail reports that BAE Systems is close to winning an order worth up to GBP 1.6 billion to sell some 24 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to Oman. The aircraft are expected to be relayed through Britain, redirecting part of that country’s Tranche 3 order for 88 aircraft.

Feb 10/09: Rafale, en garde! France enters the fray with an offer to sell Oman Dassault’s Rafale fighter instead. The offer was reportedly made by visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a meeting and dinner on Tuesday with Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Report.

Nov 13/08: Eurofighter. Britain’s Financial Times reports that BAE Systems is in direct talks with the Omani government to sell them up to 24 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft. The deal’s rumored value is GBP 1.4 billion (then about $2.08 billion), which is slightly low but not wildly out of line with past Eurofighter purchases. That move would complete the RAFO’s fighter recapitalization, offering it an air fleet that could operate within the Gulf Cooperation Council alongside Bahraini and UAE F-16s, and forthcoming Saudi Eurofighters, while remaining relevant and competitive for many years to come. Financial Times | Agence France Presse.

April 21/06: Lockheed Martin announces that it has delivered its 4,300th F-16 fighter. It’s one of the 12 Block 50 aircraft bought by Oman.

Aug 4/05: Lockheed Martin holds a ceremony at its Fort Worth, TX facility to deliver the first F-16 aircraft to the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO). This F-16D was accepted by the U.S. government (as the agent for Oman in the FMS process) on July 19/05, one month ahead of schedule.

The first single-seat F-16C version will fly in August 2005, and be accepted in September 2005. These 2 aircraft will be ferried to Oman in mid-October to support the 35th National Day celebrations on Nov 18/05, Sultan Qaboos’ birthday. The remainder of the aircraft will be ferried to Oman during 2006.

1st F-16 delivered

May 2002: F-16 order. The Sultanate of Oman signs an agreement with the U.S. government to purchase 12 Advanced Block 50 F-16s in the Peace A’sama A’safiya (Clear Skies) Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The agreement includes 8 single-seat F-16Cs and 4 two-seat F-16Ds, powered by the General Electric F110-GE-129 engine. These jets are slated to complement, not replace, Oman’s Jaguars.

Oman will become the 5th Arab nation (Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, UAE) and the 3rd member of the Gulf Cooperation Council to acquire the F-16.

F-16 order

Oct 4/01: The US DSCA announces Oman’s official request to buy up to 12 F-16C/D Block 50+ aircraft. Their purchase would also include:

* 14 of either Pratt & Whitney’s F100-PW-229 or GE’s F110-GE-129 engine [DID: 12 + 2 spares, GE was picked]
* APG-68vXM FMS radars
* 14 LANTIRN Targeting Pods, FMS variant [DID: This was later changed to the more advanced PANTERA/Sniper pod]
* 14 LANTIRN Navigation Pods with Terrain Following Radar (TFR)
* 50 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM)
* 10 AMRAAM training missiles
* 100 AIM-9M-8/9 Sidewinder short-range air-to-air missiles
* 10 Sidewinder training missiles
* 80 AGM-65D/G Maverick short-range strike missiles
* 10 Maverick training missiles
* 20 AGM-84D Harpoon anti-ship missiles
* 100 Enhanced-GBU-10 Paveway II laser guided kits for 2,000 pound bombs
* 100 Enhanced-GBU-12 Paveway II laser guided kits for 500 pound bombs
* 80 GPS-guided GBU-31/32 Joint Direct Attack Munition bombs
* LANTIRN Night Vision Goggle compatible cockpits
* Plus Associated support equipment, software development/integration, modification kits, spares and repair parts, flight test instrumentation, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, and other US Government and contractor support.

The estimated cost is up to $1.12 billion, and the prime contractor will be Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems of Fort Worth, TX. If a contract is signed, implementation will require about 5 U.S. Government representatives in Oman for approximately 2 years, to assist in the delivery, acceptance, and deployment of the aircraft. There will also be 5 U.S. Government and 3 contractor representatives visiting for 1-week intervals, twice annually, for program management and technical reviews.

DSCA request: F-16s (12), weapons

Additional Readings

Aircraft & Ancillaries

* DID – Eurofighter’s Future: Tranche 3, and Beyond.

* F-16.NET – F-16C/D Block 50/52.

* Air Vectors – The BAE Hawk.

* DID – AIM-9X Block II & Beyond: The New Sidewinder Missiles.

* DID – AMRAAM: Deploying & Developing America’s Medium-Range Air-Air Missile.

* ITT Exelis – AIDEWS brochure [PDF]. AN/ALQ-211 Electronic jamming & self-protection system.

* Northrop Grumman – AN/APG-68(V)9 Multimode Fire Control Radar. Latest variant of this Passive Electronically Scanned Radar.

* UTC Aerospace – DB-110, Tactical Visible and IR Dual-Bands. Reconnaissance Pod, acquired in Goodrich merger.

* DID – Ships Ahoy! The Harpoon Missile Family.

* DID – JHMCS: Fighter Pilots’ “Look & Shoot” Helmets Changing Aerial Warfare.

* Lockheed Martin – Sniper Advanced Targeting Pod.


* Arabian Aerospace – Small air force with a big reputation

* DID – Oman Upgrading its Air Defenses. Radars and surface-to-air missile systems.

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  • Get the big picture, quickly
  • Keep up with the important facts
  • Stay on top of your projects or your competitors


  • Coverage of procurement and doctrine issues
  • Timeline of past and future program events
  • Comprehensive links to other useful resources