Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base
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Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base (IATA: XIJ, ICAO: OKAJ) is a Kuwait Air Force base that is home to 3 Kuwait Air Force F/A-18 C/D squadrons: 9 Squadron, 25 Squadron, and 61 Squadron. The base also has an area designated for operations by the U.S. Air Force and its allies.
|Ahmad al-Jaber Air Base|
قاعدة أحمد الجابر الجوية
|Ahmadi Governorate in Kuwait|
|Type||Kuwait Air Force base|
|Owner||Ministry of Defense|
|Operator||Kuwait Air Force|
|Identifiers||IATA: XIJ, ICAO: OKAJ|
|Elevation||124 metres (407 ft) AMSL|
When Iraq launched its invasion in 1990 on Kuwait, Iraqi Air Force jets dropped air scattered mines, preventing operations on the runways. This led to the Kuwaiti Air Force Mirage F1s and A-4 Skyhawks having to land on a road nearby.
After the invasion, the US which was preparing for Operation Desert Storm feared that al-Jaber housed Iraqi chemical weapons mainly because the Iraqi army had deployed 30 howitzers and used the Kuwaiti hardened concrete hangars at al-Jaber for munitions storage. These howitzers known as GHN-45 were notable for being preferred for chemical munition delivery by the Iraqis.
During the 1991 Gulf War, Ahmad al-Jaber Airbase was attacked several times by coalition aircraft due to the chemical munitions storage rumours. They also dropped anti-personnel mines to impede base operations. On the first night of the war, three A-6E TRAM Intruder from VA-115 Eagles (Carrier Air Wing 5) based on the USS Midway attacked the airbase with six Mk.83 bombs each. On the same night, 12 French Air Force SEPECAT Jaguars from EC 2/11 Vosges attacked Al-jaber with no less than four aircraft sustaining damage (three hit by IR-SAMs) although all returned safely.
Sitting 75 miles south of the Iraqi border, the base has supported active duty United States Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II and General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter units, along with support individuals, rotated in and out. At Al-Jaber AB, the 332 ELS Commander and 10 personnel were on one-year tours; all others (1190 personnel) rotated every 90 to 120 days.
According to USA Today on 22 October 2003 the US Ambassador to Kuwait, Richard Jones, announced that the United States was reducing its presence at Al-Jaber with the intent of fully reducing its forces at that location. USAF assets remaining in Kuwait are primarily stationed at Ali Al Salem Air Base.
The U.S. side of the base was re-opened during 2014 sometime before October.
Role and operationsEdit
Kuwait Air ForceEdit
The base is home to the Kuwait Air Force's entire fleet of fighter/attack aircraft. Two front-line (9 Squadron and 25 Squadron) and one training unit (61 Squadron) operate a fleet of McDonnell Douglas KAF-18C/D Hornets. The aircraft is a twin-engine, supersonic, all-weather, multirole combat jet, designed as both a fighter and attack aircraft.
Military intervention against ISILEdit
Ahmad al-Jaber hosts the United States Air Force's 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing (332 AEW), which moved to the base on May 2016. The 332 ARW provides a wide range combat capabilities including aerial-refueling, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR), space, combat search and rescue (CSAR), and precision strike, all in support of the military intervention against ISIL/ISIS (known by the US military as Operation Inherent Resolve) and wider military operations in the Middle East. A wide range of US Air Force aircraft have been deployed at Ahmad al-Jaber, including F-15E Strike Eagle, MQ-9A Reaper, and KC-135R Stratotanker as well as HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters. The United States Marines has also operated from the base, flying the MV-22B Osprey, EA-6B Prowler, AV-8B Harrier II and KC-130J Hercules.
Kuwait Air ForceEdit
- 9th Fighter & Attack Squadron – KAF-18C/D Hornet
- 25th Fighter & Attack Squadron – KAF-18C/D Hornet
- 61st Fighter & Attack Squadron – KAF-18C/D Hornet
United States Air ForceEdit
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- "SP-MAGTF Commander Details ISIL Strikes; Notes 1st Marines 'Could Clear' Iraq". Breaking Defense. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
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