Kuwait Air Force

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Kuwait Air Force

1953 - present

Country  Kuwait
1961 - present
Branch Kuwait Armed Forces
Type Air Force
Size Approx. 5000 personnel
Part of Kuwaiti Armed Forces
Garrison/HQ Al Mubarak Air Base
Nickname Air Force

الشرف والإخلاص لله، ثم الوطن والامير

( Honor & Fidelity to God, then Country & The Emir)
Colors Green & Red
Anniversaries National and Liberation Day (25th and 26th February)
Decorations Arab and non-Arab Military awards and decorations
Commander MG. Abdullaziz K. AlJassim
Aircraft flown
Attack F/A-18, AH-64D
Fighter F/A-18
Patrol SA-342
Trainer Tucano, BAE Hawk, SA-342
Transport L-100, SA-330, AS-332, KC-130J

The Kuwait Air Force (Arabic: القوات الجوية الكويتية Trans: al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya) is the air arm of the State of Kuwait. The Air Force headquarters is located at Al Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defence Brigade, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base. The Kuwait Air Force numbers approximately 2,500 officer and enlisted personnel. The Kuwaiti Air Force supersedes the Politics of Kuwait in seniority and is older than the Government of Kuwait, the Constitution of Kuwait and the National Assembly of Kuwait.


The current air force started part of the Kuwaiti Public Security Department which operated a number of Austers in different configurations and two de Havilland DH.104 Doves. The Kuwait Air Force and Air Defence was formed in the course of 1961 following an intervention by the British that avoided Iraq to claim Kuwait as one of its provinces. The first aircraft to enter KAF service were four Whirlwind helicopters and six BAC/Hunting Jet Provost T.51s. This support from the UK would remain in place for a long time and 1964 was known for the arrival of the first Hawker Hunters. These would later be amended by more examples in 1969. The first DeHavilland Canada type to enter KAF service was the DHC-4 Caribou from which two arrived in 1963. The transport capacity would later be improved by the acquisition of an ex-RAF Argosy in 1969 and later, in 1971, by two Lockheed L-100-20 Hercules.

Kuwait Air Force English Electric Lightning F.53 before delivery in June 1969

In the meantime the fighter force was given a boost by the procurement of twelve Lightning F53s and two T55 trainer versions that were delivered in the late 60s. The Strikemaster Mk.83s from which twelve were ordered were delivered in 1969. Between 1968 and 1977 two Bell 206's operated in KAF service and from November 1969, eight Augusta Bell 205s were delivered, replacing the aging Whirlwinds. Only five years after the delivery of the Lightnings, the KAF decided it needed a better serviceable aircraft. It had been using the Hunters and the Strikemasters in the interceptor and ground strike role, rather than the Lightnings. Finally in 1974 the Mirage F1 was selected as the new air defence fighter and a total of 27 Mirage F1CKs and seven Mirage F1BKs were ordered and delivered in two separate batches until 1983. The ground strike role would be filled in by the total of 36 Douglas (T)A-4KU Skyhawks that were ordered in 1974 and delivered during 1977. 24 SNIAS SA-342K Gazelles were delivered during the mid-70s and four were subsequently passed on to the Police Air Wing. Four L-100-30 Hercules transport aircraft were delivered in 1983, replacing the shorter L-100-20 version from which only one survived (the other crashed in France). Also in 1983, twelve Hawk T64 were ordered to fill the gap that the KAF had on training capacity. In 1988 the Air Force was baptised al-Quwwat al-Jawwiya al-Kuwaitiya (Kuwait Air Force). The lead-in-fighter-trainer that was selected, the Shorts Tucano T.52, would only be delivered in 1995. They were earmarked for delivery in 1990 but due to the outbreak of the Gulf War, deliveries were postponed.

Post Gulf War

After the Gulf War, the KAF underwent a reorganisation and both the Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and the Dassault Mirage F1s were soon phased out in favour of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. 32 F/A-18Cs and eight F/A-18D Hornets are flying with 9th Squadron and 25th Squadron from Ahmed al Jaber. The Mirage is withdrawn from use and in storage. Most of the remaining Skyhawks continued their operational life with the Brazilian Navy. The first six of sixteen ordered AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters were handed over to the Kuwait Air Force on 3 February 2006. The remaining ten aircraft were delivered thereafter. All the helicopters are pre-configured to carry the AN/APG-78 Longbow radar kits.


A Kuwaiti F/A-18C Hornet in 1993

Lockheed Martin has received a $245 million contract from the U.S. Government for the Foreign Military Sale of 3 KC-130J tanker aircraft to Kuwait. The program will be managed by the U.S. Navy.The Kuwait Air Force's new KC-130Js will provide aerial refueling for its F/A-18 fleet and augment its current airlift fleet of three Lockheed Martin L-100s. Kuwait's KC-130Js also will perform air mobility, disaster relief and humanitarian missions throughout the world. Kuwait's first KC-130J delivery is scheduled for late 2013, with deliveries completed in early 2014. Using only wing and external tanks. In September 2010, Kuwait requested to purchase one Boeing C-17. The USA is to sell 60 Patriot (PAC-3) missiles, 20 launching stations, four radar systems and control stations, personnel training and training equipment, and spare parts to Kuwait in a deal worth an estimated $4.2 billion

Major non-NATO Ally of the United States and Global War on Terrorism (2004-present)

Aerial Reconnaissance, Prevention and Airborne Protection Support Missions

In the concept of the Arab World, the application of terrorism and the narrowing of security threats is not resumed to countries of citizenships as it may be applied in functioning democratic nations; it is a tribal reality handled at the level of the Bedouin tribes and their birthplace of origin.

Recently, and with the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism (2001- present); the Kuwaiti Air Force plays a monumental role force preventing through monitor major internal and external sea and border terrorist attacks and crises attempting to compromise the tasked duties of units of the Kuwaiti National Guard, the Kuwaiti Emiri Guard, the Kuwait Army, the Kuwaiti Navy & Coast Guard and the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior. These internal and foreign sea and land based threats mainly are the result of the difference between proud Bedouin tribes sticking to their origins respectfully and serving the Government of Kuwait admirably while other Bedouin tribes are claiming a state of statelessness in their respective country of housing.

Stateless Bedouin tribes also not from Kuwait attempt to infiltrate the country from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Jordan and Saudi Arabia; mainly via land and sea. Stateless Bedouin tribes infiltrating the country from across the region link up with parenting local tribes claiming statelessness in the host country in order to attempt to compromise the security of the targeted country.

Such internal differences is witnessed across the Arab world and in countries bordering applicable tribal effects. In Kuwait, such a paradox, is seen rioting unjustifiably challenging the legitimacy of the Military of Kuwait; specially, rioting against military of the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior; the Government of Kuwait and its leadership while claiming the enacting of inapplicable democracy when only Bedouin tribal chiefdom would govern; even with an educated, and sophisticated young generation that seems modern and promising.

Such a changing claim is also witnessed in other Arab countries housing major Bedouin tribes. The experts label this change as the main catalyst behind the governing Arab Spring across the Arab World; a chaos that will most likely bring forth an unfitted and inexperienced tribe to power which would eventually be toppled by the rivalry of another. This primarily, due to the inapplicability of democracy through political parties in tribal Arab constitutionalized countries and where majority rule and loyalty always favors and serves the interest of origin of the tribe before that of a local serving government.

Stateless Bedouin tribal geopolitical turmoil has surfaced in the region and in Kuwait; declared one of fifteen major non-NATO allies of the United States by US President George W Bush following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier along with the quest of identifying the remains of missing Kuwaiti civilians and Kuwaiti POWs are the pinnacle corps missions that represent the essence of the State of Kuwait.


  • Air Defence Brigade


Kuwait Air Force Lockheed Hercules transport aircraft in 1999
Kuwait Air Force Tucano Mk.52 (KAF112) at Farnborough Air Show 1992


Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Fixed Wing
McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet  United States Multirole Fighter C\D 28+7=35 First delivery 1992
BAE Hawk  United Kingdom Advanced Trainer Mk.64 10 Delivered between 1985–86
Shorts Tucano  United Kingdom/ Brazil Basic Trainer Mk.52 16
Lockheed L-100 Hercules  United States Transport L100-30 3
Ilyushin Il-76  Russia Transport IL-76MF 1 Reports of being in service
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules  United States Multirole Tanker KC-130J 0/3 Entering service in 2013
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III  United States Transport C-17A 1/1 Requested in sep. 2010 - Requested another 1 in April 2013
Rotary Wing
Boeing AH-64D Apache Longbow  United States Attack Helicopter - 16 First delivery 2007
Aérospatiale SA-342 Gazelle  France Trainer & Support Helicopter SA-342K 13 In service 1981
Eurocopter AS-332 Super Puma  France Search & Rescue AS-332M 4
Aérospatiale SA-330 Puma  France Utility Helicopter SA-330H 5
Sikorsky S-92  United States VIP Transport S92A 2 Delivered 2007 and 2008
Eurocopter EC-135  Germany Utility Helicopter T1 2 Police Rotary Wing
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin  France Utility Helicopter N3 2 Police Rotary Wing

Air Defence Systems

Name Origin Type In service
MIM-104 Patriot  United States SAM 25 launchers (at least 12 upgraded to PAC-3) purchased 1992
MIM-23 Hawk  United States SAM 6
GDF-005 Amoun  Italy Anti Aircraft Gun & SAM 12
Starburst  United Kingdom SAM 48

See also


  1. [1], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  3. "Kuwait requests C-17 purchase". Retrieved 2010-09-29. 
  4. [2], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  5. [3], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  6. [4], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  7. [5], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  8. [6], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  9. [7], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  10. [8], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  11. Pike, John. "U.S. Designates Kuwait a Major Non-NATO Ally of U.S". Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  12. [9], Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense,(Section Arabic Read الجيش الكويتي)
  14. Kuwaiti military aviation OrBat
  15. "air defense". 

External links


Media related to Kuwait Air Force at Wikimedia Commons

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