On 1 March 1959 with British support and assistance the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman Air Force (SMOAF) سلاح الجو السلطاني العماني was established. The first aircraft in its inventory were four Scottish Aviation Pioneer CC1's operating until 1962. These were augmented by a total of twelve Hunting Percival Provosts.
In 1969 the first turbine powered aircraft entered service was the Strikemaster Mk.82, then the C-47 Dakota (turbo-prop) one year later. These were soon replaced by the DHC-4 Caribou and later the Shorts Skyvan.
A second batch of twelve Strikemasters were ordered and five Vickers Viscounts was utilized for troop transportation.
In August of 1970, officially became Sultanate of Oman Air Force (SOAF). Eight BN-2A-21 Defenders, three BAe111's and a VC-10 were ordered and delivered in 1974. Two years later in 1976 the first of over thirty Hunters was delivered. In the same year the first batch of SEPECAT Jaguars were ordered and delivered between 1977 and 1978. In early 1980s three Lockheed C-130H Hercules transport aircraft were ordered.
In 1990 the SOAF was renamed to Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO). In 1993 four Hawk 103s and twelve Hawk 203s were ordered.
In August 2002 the order for twelve F-16C/D Block 50 was approved by the US government. Under program Peace A'sama A'safiya (Clear Skies) twelve Block 50 F-16's (8 F-16C and 4 F-16D) delivered during 2005/2006 and operating together with the Jaguars.
The locally modified version SC-7 Skyvans (Seavans) are used for surveillance but posed for replacement. An order of 20 NH-90TTH's was placed in July 2004.
The Royal Oman Police placed an order for six AB139 helicopters.
Early 2011 Oman expressed interest for further F-16 purchases and upgrades. While a recent Jaguar upgraded extended the operational life to 2012. The Jaguar, which has been used in both air defence and ground attack roles.
Procurement planning revealed in November 2008, Royal Air Force of Oman is likely to receive up to 24 Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft in 2012, permitting the phasing out of the Jaguar with more than 30 years operational service.
Jane’s Sentinel Security Assessment - The Gulf States Publication date Oct 18, 2011
Is highly effective and well prepared, with the acquisition of F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole combat aircraft in 2005-06 further enhancing its already impressive capabilities.
Commander of the Air Force: Vice Air Marshal Yahya bin Rashid al-Juma’ah
Air Force Personnel Strength: 5,000
- Combat: 41 (total), 41 (in service)
- Transport: 56 (total), 49 (in service)
- Helicopters: 63 (total), 63 (in service)