New Air Force Jordans

December 6, 2016

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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 had left Jordan and the RJAF had taken control of the airfields in the country.

1960s[edit]

In 1967, in the Six-Day War, Israel destroyed Jordan's Air Force of 21 British-manufactured Hawker Hunters.

1970s[edit]

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 However, the Starfighter proved superfluous and several were given to the Pakistan Air Force with the last unit withdrawn from service in 1977 leaving a fighter gap that would not be filled until the arrival of the Dassault Mirage F1 in 1981.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.

1980s[edit]

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) 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 political support for the Iraqi regime, but the RJAF was never committed to combat in that war. The RJAF provided instruction for Iraqi pilots who also operated the similar Mirage F1.

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

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.

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