Military Wiki
Kuwait Air Force
Founded early 1950s
Country Kuwait
Role Air Defence
Size Approx. 5000 personnel
Part of Military of Kuwait
HQ Al Mubarak Air Base
Engagements invasion of Kuwait, Gulf War
Commander MG. Abdullaziz K. AlJassim
Roundel Roundel Kuwait.svg
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 current air force started as the Security Department of Kuwait 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-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.[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



  • Abdulla AlMubarak Air Base HQ
    • 41st Transport Sqd L-100-30 Hercules
  • 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[4] 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 Basic Trainer Mk.52 16
Lockheed L-100 Hercules United States Transport L100-30 3
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 0/2 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
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
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 [6]
MIM-23 Hawk United States SAM 6
GDF-005 Amoun  Italy Anti Aircraft Gun & SAM 12
Starburst  United Kingdom SAM 48


External links

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