Kuwait Air Force

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Kuwait Air Force
Kuwait Air Force roundel
Active 1953; 71 years ago (1953)
Country  Kuwait
Branch Kuwait Armed Forces
Type Air Force
Size Approx. 5,000 personnel
Garrison/HQ Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base
Motto الله والوطن والامير God, Country & The Emir
Colors Green & Red
Anniversaries National and Liberation Day (25 and 26 February)
Assistant Chief Combat Commander of Kuwait Air Force Kuwait Air Force Commander
Aircraft flown
Attack McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet, Boeing AH-64 Apache
Fighter F/A-18 Hornet
Patrol Aerospatiale SA-342 Gazelle
Trainer Short Tucano, BAE Hawk, SA-342
Transport Lockheed L-100 Hercules
Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma
Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma
Lockheed Martin 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 Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base, with the remaining forces stationed at Air Defense Brigades, Ali Al Salem Air Base and Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base. The Kuwait Air Force numbers approximately 5,000 officers and enlisted personnel.


The Kuwait Air Force was founded in 1953 by Field Marshal Sheikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah when the Directorate of Public Security Force split from the Kuwaiti Army; the new force was equipped with a number of Austers in different configurations and two de Havilland DH.104 Doves.|reason=Date of foundation has to be considered suspect, found a reliable source stating the first Kuwaiti pilot had his first solo flight while learning to fly, in 1954. Another source states that four Austers were delivered to the Kuwait Aero Club in March 1954, with no mention of military deliveries.

The Kuwait Air Force was expanded concurrently with the course of the British intervention during Operation Vantage that deterred Iraq from annexing 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 joined by more examples in 1969. Two de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou transports arrived in 1963. The transport capacity would later be improved by the acquisition of an ex-RAF Armstrong Whitworth AW.660 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 14 English Electric Lightnings that were delivered in the late 1960s. Twelve BAC Strikemasters were delivered in 1969.

Between 1968 and 1977 two Bell 206s 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 an aircraft with better serviceability; 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. In addition, 24 SNIAS SA-342K Gazelles were delivered during the mid-1970s and 4 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 of which only one survived (the other crashed in France). Also in 1983, twelve Hawk T64s were ordered to fill the gap that the KAF had in training capacity. In 1988 the Air Force was named 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 reorganization; and the Douglas A-4 Skyhawks and Dassault Mirage F1s were soon phased out in favour of the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet. Forty Hornets, consisting of 32 F/A-18Cs and 8 F/A-18Ds, are flying with the 9th Squadron and 25th Squadron from Ahmed al Jaber. The first six of sixteen 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.


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.[1] In September 2010, Kuwait requested to purchase one Boeing C-17.[2] 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.

On September 12, 2015, the Eurofighter consortium revealed that the Eurofighter Typhoon had been selected by Kuwait to update its fleet with 28 new fighter jets.


Base Name Function Subsidiary Components Note
Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Base 41st Transport Sqd L-100-30 Hercules
Ali Al Salem Air Base Flying School
Air Search and Rescue Combat Wing
12th Training Sqd BAE Hawk MK.64
19th Training Sqd Shorts Tucano MK.52
88th Training Sqd SA-342K Gazelle
62nd Helicopter Sqd SA-330H Puma
32nd Helicopter Sqd AS-332M Super Puma
33rd Helicopter Sqd SA-342K Gazelle
17th Attack Sqd″Night Wolf″ AH-64D Longbow Apache
20th "The Dark Knights" Attack Sqd AH-64D Longbow Apache
Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base Air Combat Squadrons 9th Fighter Sqd F/A-18 Hornet C/D
25th Fighter Sqd F/A-18 Hornet C/D
Air Defense Brigades Air Combat


Current inventory

A Kuwaiti F/A-18C Hornet in 1993
Kuwait Air Force Lockheed Hercules transport aircraft in 1999
File:Tucano Mk.52 - KAF112-McGrath.jpg
Kuwait Air Force Tucano Mk.52 (KAF112) at Farnborough Air Show 1992
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
F/A-18 United States multirole F/A-18C 27[3]
KC-130 United States aerial refueling / transport KC-130J 3[3]
C-17A United States heavy transport 2[3]
L-100 Hercules United States transport 3[3]
AH-64 United States attack AH-64D 16[3]
Sikorsky S-92 United States VIP 2[3]
AS332 France transport / utility 4[3]
SA330 France transport / utility 6[3]
SA342 France transport / utility 6[3]
Trainer Aircraft
F/A-18 United States conversion trainer F/A-18D 7[3]
BAE Hawk United Kingdom primary trainer Hawk 64 10[3]
Short Tucano United Kingdom trainer Tucano 52 12[3] licence-built variant of the EMB-312.

Air Defence

Name Origin Type In service[4] Notes
Air Defence Systems
MIM-104 Patriot  United States SAM system 25 purchased 1992 - 12 upgraded to Patriot PAC-3 SAM/ABM system
MIM-23 Hawk  United States SAM system 6
Starburst  United Kingdom SAM system 42
GDF-005  Italy anti-aircraft gun 12

Ranks of the Kuwait Air Force

Air Officer Corps

Company-grade officers Field-grade officers General officers
First Lieutenant
(1st LT)
Lieutenant Colonel
Brigadier general
Major general
Lieutenant general
O-1 O-2 O-3 O-4 O-5 O-6 O-7 O-8 O-9 O-10
One Star
(Arabic: ملازم‎‎)
Two Stars
(Arabic: ملازم أول‎‎)
Three Stars
(Arabic: نقيب‎‎)
(Arabic: رائد‎‎)
Crown & Star
(Arabic: مقدم‎‎)
Crown & Two Stars
(Arabic: عقيد‎‎)
Crown & Three Stars
(Arabic: عميد‎‎)
Crown & Two Crossed Arabian Swords
(Arabic: لواء‎‎)
Crown, Star & Two Crossed Arabian Swords
(Arabic: فريق‎‎)
Crown, Two Stars & Two Crossed Arabian Swords
(Arabic: فريق أول‎‎)

Air Enlisted Corps

Junior enlisted Non-commissioned Officers (NCOs) Warrant Officers (WOs)
Private first class
Staff Sergeant
Warrant Officer
Chief Warrant Officer
E-1 E-2 E-3 E-4 E-5 WO CWO
No Chevron
Regular Airman
One Chevron
(Arabic: وكيل عريف ‎‎)
Two Chevrons
(Arabic: عريف‎‎)
Three Chevrons
(Arabic: رقيب‎‎)
Three Chevrons with circle closing stripe
(Arabic: رقيب أول‎‎)
One Star centered with Coat of Arms of the Emir of Kuwait
(Arabic: وكيل ضابط ‎‎)
Two Stars centered with Coat of Arms of the Emir of Kuwait
(Arabic: وكيل أول ضابط‎‎)

See also


  1. http://defpro.com/news/details/15576/
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External links

Media related to Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found. at Wikimedia Commons