Military Wiki
Royal Jordanian Air Force
Royal Jordanian Air Force insignia
Founded 25 September 1955
Country  Jordan
Branch Air Force
Type Military Aviation
Role Aerial Warfare
Size 12,000 Active (2021 est.)
Air Headquarter Amman
Equipment 230 Aircraft (2021 est.)
Chief of Air Staff Brigadier General Zaid Ali Al-Qurash
Roundel Roundel of the Royal Jordanian Air Force.svg
Air Force Ensign Royal Jordan Air Force Ensign.svg
Aircraft flown
Attack Air Tractor AT-802
Fighter F-16 Fighting Falcon
Helicopter Sikorsky UH-60, Mil Mi-26, Aérospatiale AS332
Trainer Pilatus PC-21, Grob G-120
Transport Lockheed C-130 Hercules, CASA C-295, PZL M28 Skytruck

The Royal Jordanian Air Force (RJAF— Arabic: سلاح الجو الملكي الأردني, transliterated Silāḥ ul-Jawu al-Malakī ’al-Urdunī) is the air force branch of the Jordanian Armed Forces.


Early days

A de havilland Vampire FB.6 illustrating the markings of the Royal Jordanian Air Force

Jordan gained independence in 1946, but its first air bases had been set up in 1931 by the Royal Air Force. By 1950, Jordan began to develop a small air arm which came to be known as the Arab Legion Air Force (ALAF). The Royal Air Force assisted in training this small air arm and provided equipment. The ALAF's primary fighter was the de Havilland Vampire and a Vickers VC.1 Viking was operated as a VIP aircraft for use by the King of Jordan. By 1955 King Hussein realized the need for Jordan to have a more modern Air force, and on 25 September 1955 the RJAF was established. By 1958 the Royal Air Force had left Jordan and the RJAF had taken control of the airfields in the country.


Hunter F.73 of the Royal Jordanian Air Force in 1971

By the 1960s, the RJAF had a fleet of Hawker Hunters in the fighter role, with C-47 Dakota cargo planes and helicopters used in the transport role. 1964 brought the RJAF's first victory in the air. In the Battle of the Dead Sea, four Hawker Hunters shot down one Israeli Mirage III and damaged three others.[citation needed]

On the morning of Nov 13, 1966 the siren sounded at Mafraq air base and a flight of two Hawker Hunter aircraft scrambled. This section comprised of [sic] Lt. Salti and Lt. Shurdom. Three minutes later another pair was scrambled led by Lt. Jaser Zayyad and Lt. Abdeen as wingman. The reason was to alleviate the pressure on Jordanian infantry positions under attack by combined Israeli forces. Arriving at the scene I found that Red leader was engaged in combat with an Israeli mirage while number two Lt. Shurdom was closely pursued by a hostile Mirage which was closing in for a kill. According to Lt. Jaser Zayyad:

I warned Shurdom of the attacker and asked him to tighten the turn. At the time I was pulling up taking advantage of my speed to attack a flight of four Mirages capping. As I was zooming up the Israeli aircraft released one missile at close range. I called Lt. Shurdom to break left and watched the missile miss him and explode in the vineyards. Apparently, the four aircraft spotted my section because they split in two pairs. As No 3&4 turned right and down I decided to turn inside and pursue for a kill. As I was closing less than 600 yards the No 4 left his leader to the left and I asked my No2 to watch him who mistook the order to get him. I closed in to 380 yards and released a good burst of my aden guns. At that instant I heard Salti give a call Hunter behind Mirage BREAK. I immediately broke without ensuring the fate of the targeted mirage. Re grouping at low level the situation looked desperate as there was a whole squadron of Mirages in the air. As we were close to the border and far away from base I ordered withdrawal and made sure red section exited a head of my section. I lost radio contact with Salti and found out upon landing that he was lost in action.[citation needed].

During the 1967 Six-Day War, the RJAF destroyed an Israeli Nord Noratlas on the grounds of Sirkin air base before an Israeli counterstrike destroyed the RJAF on the ground and in their hangars decisively removing the RJAF from the war. However, in the closing stages of the war, RJAF pilots operating from Iraq (using Iraqi Hawker Hunters) managed to down one Israeli Mirage IIICJ and two Vautours heading to attack H3 for one loss. Israel said it lost three aircraft and downed three Hunters, before the mission was aborted. It is considered by Israel to be one of the failures of the war.[citation needed]

In the 1970s the RJAF was modernised. Lockheed F-104 Starfighters were acquired from the United States following heavy losses in the Six-Day War. However, the Starfighter proved superfluous and several were donated to the Pakistan Air Force with the last unit withdrawn from service in 1977 leaving a fighter gap that would not be filled until the arrival of the Dassault Mirage F1 in 1981. The RJAF also acquired Northrop F-5 Tigers via Iran during the reign of the Shah who procured them from the United States. Cessna T-37 Tweets were also acquired for the training role. In 1975, the RJAF gave its fleet of 31 Hawker Hunters to the Sultan of Oman's Air Force, having failed in their efforts to sell them to Rhodesia or Honduras. The Hunters were delivered to SOAF Thumrait between May and June 1975.


A C-101 Aviojet aircraft of the Jordanian Air Force.

Following peace between Egypt and Israel in 1979, the RJAF began to modernize its fleet once again. The first part of this program was the procurement of the Dassault Mirage F1 which became the RJAF's frontline fighter supported by generous aid from wealthy oil-rich Arab states. The Mirage F1 was selected over the General Dynamics F-16/79 (an F-16A powered by the GE J79 turbojet series as opposed to the Pratt & Whitney F100, which had 25% more power in afterburn)[1] while also acquiring the Northrop F-5 to complement the Mirage F1CJ/EJ in the process.

In the 1980s, the RJAF supported Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi regime during the Iran-Iraq War, committing their aircraft for combat training alongside Iraqi aircraft squadrons with one joint aircraft squadron. It remains unknown (and seemingly unlikely) that RJAF pilots took part in combat with Iran. During the 1991 Desert Storm conflict, Jordan declared support for the Iraqi regime, but the RJAF was never officially committed to combat in that war. The RJAF provided instruction for Iraqi pilots who also operated the similar Mirage F1.

Some six Lockheed C-130H Hercules entered RJAF service and remain critical in supporting Jordan's peacekeeping efforts. In 1987 the RJAF received CASA C-101s to replace the T-37 in the training role.

1991 Persian Gulf War and the 1990s

Dassault Mirage F1EJ

Following economic crisis that plagued the country in 1988 contributed to a general reduction in the size and strength of the armed forces since 1989, the RJAF cancelled ambitious plans to acquire the Mirage 2000EJ aircraft (eight planned but cancelled) and upgrades of the Mirage F1CJ fleet to the multi-role EJ standard. However, by 1990 the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait brought a coalition against the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein. Jordan, despite not supporting the occupation of Kuwait, was accused of backing Iraq.

The fallout meant that the RJAF was impacted upon[Clarification needed] but contrary to reports, did not lose its operational tempo and was not forced to cannibalize aircraft for shortages of spare parts. Despite this, the RJAF had to rationalize its existing resources due to a temporary downfall in spare parts and supplies. However, economic difficulties forced the RJAF to seek upgrades rather than the purchase of new equipment originally planned.

Modernization schemes continued with seven F-5Es sold to Singapore and some funding used to upgrade most of the remaining others with the AN/APG-67 radar (found on the aborted Northrop F-20 Tigershark, once an aircraft under evaluation by the RJAF), modern fire control systems, and WVR AAMs, thus putting the F-5 on par with more modern aircraft in terms of electronics. Despite this, the F-5s lack a BVR combat capability.

Modern Era

Jordanian F-16s

An F-16AM landing in Mwaffaq Salti airbase in Azraq.

Jordanian F-5 Tiger II aircraft

U.S. military assistance has been primarily directed toward upgrading Jordan’s air force, as recent purchases include upgrades to U.S.-made F-16 fighters, air-to-air missiles, and radar systems. Following the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty and the lending of Jordanian support to the United States during the Persian Gulf War, the U.S. recommenced full military relations with Jordan starting with the donation of 16 General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon(12 F-16A and 4 F-16B)in storage at the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) at Davis Monthan AFB. Deliveries commenced in 1997 and were completed next year, replacing the Mirage F1CJs in the air-defence role, following extensive exercises with the existing Mirage F1CJ/EJ and F-5E/F in RJAF service and assuming the lead role. Some 17 further ex-AMARC aircraft were also procured along with six ex-Royal Netherlands Air Force F-16BMs for training purposes (Combat Capable)[2] along with 16 ex-Belgian F-16AM/BM in MLU (Mid Life Update, Block 30) standard in 2009,[3] Another 2 ex-Spanish Mirage F1CE/EE aircraft were procured in 2006. In July/Aug 2011 RJAF received another 9 ex-Belgian F-16AM/BM MLU standard,[4] thus boosting the RJAF's own multi-role capabilities.

RJAF pilots have participated in 'Bright Star' in Egypt against regional F-16 Fighting Falcons and have improved their skills considerably, especially in defining critical areas of upgrading. The AIM-120 AMRAAM has been procured by the RJAF and will improve combat capabilities of the basic F-16. Unlike the AIM-7M Sparrow III the AMRAAM is lighter and more versatile with superior ECM/ECCM and capable of engaging high-g targets, along with an active radar homing warhead (unlike the semi-active homing warhead of the 'Sparrow III') with standard datalink for mid-course guidance and correction purposes.

Some 17 Block 15 F-16s were sent to Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) where they were upgraded to MLU (Block 40) standard ,[5] this enabling advanced AGMs and latest PGMs to be carried. It remains unclear what will eventually complement the F-16s as the F-5s and F-1s dwindle in numbers due to economic, stress and fatigue reasons. In 2008 10 Northrop F-5E, 3 F-5EM and 2 F-5F were sold to Kenya. The remaining F-5s should be officially out of service by 2010, while and Mirage F1CJ/EJ are being slowly decommissioned, so the F-16MLU will remain the RJAF's standard fighters. While most sources cite that the RJAF is seeking 80-90 F-16s and RJAF now equip with 62 F-16s (48 MLUs) and main goal seems to be having all F-16s in common upgraded version. The RJAF's F-16s are currently undergoing a new paint scheme to KA2 standard similar to the 'low visibility' fatigues adopted by the Royal Jordanian Land Force.

Two light CASA C-295s have been procured and procurement is likely to continue of the type. RJAF also received smaller numbers of the Antonov An-32 from Ukraine for STOL operations for Royal Special Forces, although the status of the Jordanian An-32s is uncertain. One C-130H was received in March 1997. In 2006 two Ilyushin Il-76MF freighters were purchased from Russia. In 2011 RJAF announced the intention to turn 2 of the CASA/IPTN CN-235 transport aircraft into small aerial gunships.

The Jordanian Special Operations Aviation Brigade has been using Sikorsky UH-60L Blackhawk and MD Helicopters MD-530F helicopters for special operations and border security. Two squadrons of ex-US Army AH-1F Cobra gunships were delivered in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Some have been sold to Pakistan and AH-1Fs will be replaced by new AH-6I attack helicopters. After signing the MDAP 18 surplus Bell UH-1H helicopters were delivered in 1994, followed by another 18 in 1996. Two C-130B Hercules transport aircraft and 16 UH-1H helicopters have been delivered to the Iraqi Air Force. Three C-130E will be received from the US in exchange. Currently two squadrons of UH-1Hs and one of AS332 Super Pumas support Army operations.

Local air defence comes under RJAF command and consists of Three Patriot batteries, fourteen HAWK batteries and the SA-8B an SA-13 surface-to-air-missiles. The RJAF also owns M163 Vulcan and ZSU-23-4 Shilka self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery.

Jordan assist Air forces in the Middle East, training Bahraini pilots and assisting Iraq. There is also a close cooperation with the USAF. The current commander of the Royal Jordan Air Force is Major General Malek Al-Habashneh.

Main air bases are:

  • As Shaheed Muwaffaq al Salti AB in Azraq
  • King Feisal bin Abdul Aziz AB in Jafr
  • King Abdullah II AB - Jabal Rabawi
  • King Abdullah AB - Amman
  • Prince Hassan AB - Hotel Five (H5)
  • King Hussein Air College - Mafraq

Aircraft Inventory

Royal Jordanian Air Force size is about 16,000 officers and non-commissioned officer and a civilian. It contains six major air bases in addition to sixteen air squadrons, fourteen I-Hawk Batteries, two training school (fighter aviation training school, school of air combat). The Royal Jordanian Air Force Headquarters is at King Abdullah I Airbase in Amman, the tasks of the air force are to provide:

  • Air Defense
  • Support Ground Forces
  • Airlift Operations
  • Reconnaissance Operations
  • Search & Rescue Operations

Active Aircraft

Aircraft Model Type Variant In service Notes
Fighter Aircraft
Lockheed F-16 Fighting Falcon Multirole Fighter F-16AM
MLU Block 20 (Peace Falcon II, III, IV, V, VI)

One F-16AM MLU crashed in feb 2011, 17 F-16 A/B upgraded by TAI to MLU standard Peace Falcon II, 16 F-16 AM/BM from Belgium Peace Falcon III, 6 F-16 BM from Netherlands[2] Peace Falcon IV[3] & An additional 9 F-16 AM/BM MLU (6 F-16 AM, 3 F-16 BM) delivered in July/ Aug 2011 from Belgium in 32 million euro Deal Peace Falcon V . RJAF bought 15 F-16 MLU (13 F-16 AM, 2 F-16 BM) form Dutch Air Force in 2013 Peace Falcon VI.[3][4][6][7][8][9]

Transport Aircraft
Lockheed C-130 Hercules Tactical Transport C-130H 6 2 C-130H received in Dec 2021 and a 3rd one awaiting delivery.
CASA C-295 Tactical Transport 2
PZL M28 Skytruck Tactical Transport 2 1 modified for Electronic Warfare and the other one updated to C-145A standard
Attack Helicopter
Bell AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter AH-1F 36
McDonnell Douglas MD500 Defender Light Attack Helicopter MD530FF 6
Boeing AH-6 Light Attack Helicopter AH-6i 0 18 on order[10]
Transport/Utility Helicopter
Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk Medium-Lift Helicopter UH-60A
Sikorsky S-70 Black Hawk Medium-Lift Helicopter S-70A-11 5
Aérospatiale AS332 Super Puma Medium-Lift Helicopter AS332M-1 10
Eurocopter EC635 Utility Helicopter EC635T1
3 EC635T1 in service with RJAF and 3 EC635T2i with Police Air Wing.[11][12]
Mil Mi-26 'Halo' Heavy-Lift Helicopter Mi-26T2 4
Reconnaissance Aircraft
Air Tractor AT-802 ISR and COIN Platform AT-802U
AT-802i Block 1
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan ISR Platform Ce208B
Ce208B EX
Seabird Seeker Reconnaissance Platform SB7L-360A 6
Schiebel Camcopter S-100 UAV 8
Selex ES Falco UAV ? According to, in November 2009 the Jordanian Armed Forces awarded a contract to SELEX Galileo to develop indigenous UAV technologies and electro-optic sensors for Jordan special operations forces based on the company's Falco tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS).[13]
Jordan Falcon UAV 4
Authorities Transport
Gulfstream VI Authorities Transport G650ER 1
AgustaWestland AW139 Authorities Helicopter 1
Trainer Aircraft
Pilatus PC-21 Trainer 12
Grob G120TP Trainer 15
Robinson R44 Light Helicopter R44 II 15

The 5 Extra EA300 LX aerobatic aircraft of the Royal Jordanian Falcons are operated by RJAF pilots, but owned by Royal Jordanian Airlines.

The police operates 3 Eurocopter EC635T2i, 4 Eurocopter EC120 Colibri helicopters.

Active aircraft Gallery

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Historic Aircraft Of The Royal Jordanian Air Force


Note: These figures refer only to quantities of missiles from the transactions and not to the actual quantity of missiles in RJAF.

Royal Jordanian Air Defence

  • Royal Jordanian air defense is part of the Royal Jordanian Air Force is equipped with Surface-to-Air missiles and Anti-Aircraft guns and Radar stations, as well as modern Electronic Warfare center and electronic countermeasure which is linked to command and control (C2) centers.
  • Jordan provided with an integrated, real-time air picture across multiple command centers and many remote sites to better protect the country’s airspace. The system, known as Omnyx™, will combine sensor, voice and data communications to provide interoperability throughout the Royal Jordanian Air Force and other elements of Jordan’s armed forces. With input from radars and other data links, the system will assist in detecting incoming air traffic and also provide the capabilities needed for airspace management, air sovereignty and air defense missions.[24]
  • RJAF C2 and EW Capability
    • Omnyx™ System enabling Jordanian Air Force to track and identify aircraft, evaluate any threats, initiate or monitor airborne engagements and enhance situational awareness of Jordanian airspace at all times.[24][25]
    • Jordan have a C4ISR subsystem capable of serving multiple internal services and agencies within Jordan and An Air Defense subsystem capable of early warning of air attack and real-time Command and Control (C2) of national air defense forces.[26][27][28][29]
    • RADIANT C4I National EW network, connecting regional control centers, ground radars and AD assets.
    • Jordan has the ability to detect cruise missiles, aircraft and unmanned drones at long distances through the project linking a modern Russian radar (Protivnik GE) bought by Jordan recently with some U.S. 3D radars such as (FPS-117, TPS-77, TPS-43E) and Gap-filler radars with ADSI (Air Defence System Integrator)[30] and all Fire Units to build air defence umbrella (IADS).
  • Air Surveillance Radars
    • 1 AN/FPS-117 3D Radar [31]
    • 2 AN/TPS-77 3D Radar
    • - Protivnik GE 3D Radar bought in 2009-2010 ($25 million / 804.91 million Rubles deal)
    • 3 TPS-43E 3D Radar
    • 5 AN/TPS-63 Tactical 2D Radar
    • 5 Marconi S711 Radar (Upgraded by AMS UK in 2005)
    • Gap-filler & Border Surveillance radars
  • Short-Range Tactical SAM System
    • 48 SA-8 OSA-AKM System
    • 50 9K35 ZREB-BD Gopher (Upgraded & Manufactured by JELS) System
    • Unknown No. SA-22 Pantsir-S1E
  • Medium & Long Range Air Defence
    • 22 MIM-23 Hawk Phase III with MIM-23B/E Missiles (upgraded from 1998 to 2008)
      • In the period from 1998 to 2008 was the purchase of the components of 8 Hawk Phase III batteries gradually and upgrade 14 old Hawk batteries to latest phase (Phase III ),[32] Jordan has more than 1200 Hawk missiles (600 MEI-23E missiles), The decision has not been taken yet whether the system will be upgraded or it will be replaced by a modern air defense system from Russia (Buk-M2E) or Europe (SAMP/T, NASAMS) or USA (SL-AMRAAM ER).
    • 3 MIM-104 Patriot unknown type Batteries[33] (12 launchers)
      • Jordan plans to deploy further four Patriot air defense batteries[34][35]


The roundel of the RJAF is three circles, with black, white and green circles, going from outside to inside. At the top of the roundel is a red triangle containing the seven-pointed star of the Flag of Jordan. The tails of aircraft usually carry an image of the flag of Jordan.

See also


  1. F-16 Versions - F-16/79 ::
  2. 2.0 2.1 PICTURES: Jordan accepts six more secondhand F-16s
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Belgian Air Force F-16's to Jordan
  4. 4.0 4.1 F-16 Air Forces - Jordan ::
  5. RJAF takes delivery of its first upgraded F-16 from TAI
  9. More Belgian F-16s for Jordan?
  10. Jordanian AH-6i -, May 9, 2012
  11. The EC635 is the military version of the light twin-engined EC135 helicopter
  12. Kingdom of Jordan Orders 4 Additional EC 635 Helicopters
  14. FMS: Jordan Seeks 85 AIM-120C-7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles
  15. FMS: Jordan Wants AIM-120 AMRAAM Missiles
  18. 18.0 18.1 Landmine & Cluster Munition Monitor | Country Profiles | Jordan | 2012 | Cluster Munition Ban Policy
  24. 24.0 24.1 Lockheed Martin · Lockheed Martin Receives $26 Million Contract to Help Royal Jordanian Air Force Control and Defend Its Airspace
  25. Jordan: Air Force interoperability and modernization | Middle East Confidential
  27. FMS: Jordan Seeks Integrated C4ISR System
  28. Jordan to Establish C4ISR Network - Tags: ARMS transfers MILITARY art & science
  29. Jordan seeks C4ISR upgrade | Defense News |
  30. شركة Ultra ELECTRONICS تعرض نظم إمرة وتحكم لمنظومات الدفاع الجوي
  32. results
  33. Jordan To Receive 3 US Patriot Anti-missile Batteries On Feb 6 - Diplomats
  • Griffin, David J., 60 Years of the Hawker Hunter, 1951 to 2011

External links

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