Ali Al Salem Air Base

Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military air base situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border. The airfield is owned by the Government of Kuwait, and during Operation Southern Watch, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Royal Air Force (RAF) during Operation Telic, United States Air Force (USAF), and United States Marine Corps (USMC) personnel and aircraft. Since those operations, the base has been returned to the control of the Kuwaiti Government, with the USAF continuing to maintain a presence alongside their Kuwait Air Force counterparts. The principal USAF unit on base is the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing (386 AEW).

Ali Al Salem Air Base
قاعدة علي السالم الجوية
Jahra Governorate in Kuwait
A Kuwait Air Force Eurocopter AS-332M Super Puma of the 32nd Helicopter Squadron based at Ali Al Salem AB
A Kuwait Air Force Eurocopter AS-332M Super Puma of the 32nd Helicopter Squadron based at Ali Al Salem AB
Ali Al Salem AB is located in Kuwait
Ali Al Salem AB
Ali Al Salem AB
Location in Kuwait
Coordinates29°20′48″N 47°31′14″E / 29.34667°N 47.52056°E / 29.34667; 47.52056Coordinates: 29°20′48″N 47°31′14″E / 29.34667°N 47.52056°E / 29.34667; 47.52056
TypeKuwait Air Force base
Site information
OwnerMinistry of Defense
OperatorKuwait Air Force
ConditionOperational
Garrison information
Garrison
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: OKAS
Elevation144 metres (472 ft) AMSL
Runways
Direction Length and surface
12L/30R 2,989 metres (9,806 ft) concrete/asphalt
12R/30L 2,989 metres (9,806 ft) concrete/asphalt
Sources: World Aero Data[1]

HistoryEdit

 
Significant bomb damage to a HAS incurred during the first Persian Gulf War in 1991. Bomb damage caused by precision guided "bunker busting" munitions is still visible 27 years (2019) after the liberation of Ali Al Salem.

Gulf WarEdit

In 1990, the base was the last to be overrun during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. On August 3, Ali Al Salem was the only air base not occupied by Iraq. A small number of Kuwaiti regulars, staff officers, and the base general[who?] stayed to fight and organize resupply missions from Saudi Arabia. By the end of the day, Ali Al Salem had been overrun. Upon discovery by the Iraqi military, the Kuwaiti General was hanged from the base flagpole by Iraqi troops.[2] New flagpoles have since been installed, however as of December 2012, the original pole still stands. The remaining Kuwaiti military personnel were lined up outside the old Kuwaiti officers' club and shot.[2] While no longer used, the building and bullet holes remain.

Operation Desert Fox and Operation TelicEdit

The Royal Air Force operated out of Ali Al Salem from early 1998, just before Operation Desert Fox. The RAF detachment consisted of various non-formed units, and a rotating Squadron of Panavia Tornado GR1s and later Tornado GR4s. The base was rapidly expanded in early 2003 to base the Joint Helicopter Command assets prior to start of Operation Telic, the British designation for the US designated Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During the war, the RAF amalgamated five Tornado GR4 Squadrons based at AAS to form the Ali Al Salem Combat Air Wing, commanded by Wing Commander Paddy Teakle OBE (OC 31 Squadron). He was awarded the DSO for his leadership.

The RAF had relocated to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar by 2004, though some elements remained through 2008, and it serves as a backup and emergency strip for RAF operations.

Infrastructure and facilitiesEdit

The airport resides at an elevation of 472 feet (144 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt/concrete runways: 12R/30L measuring 2,989 by 45 metres (9,806 ft × 148 ft) and 12L/30R measuring 2,989 by 40 metres (9,806 ft × 131 ft).[1]

Role and operationsEdit

Kuwait Air ForceEdit

The Kuwait Air Force Flight Training School is located at Ali Al Salem. The base is also home to the Air Force's attack and support helicopter squadrons.

Military intervention against ISILEdit

The base currently hosts several non-Kuwaiti military units, mainly 386th AEW USAF.

FutureEdit

Starting in 2018, expansion on the base was begun by the Kuwaiti Air Force to include a new asphalt/concrete runway and extensive new hangar facilities to support the future delivery of Eurofighters intended to replace their existing complement of F-18C fighter jets.

The base expansion was scheduled for completion in the second half of 2020, with the delivery of the 28 Eurofighters to follow starting in late 2020.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Ali Al Salem Ab - Okas". World Aero Data. Retrieved 2015-11-11.
  2. ^ a b "Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait City, Kuwait". MilitaryBases.com. Retrieved 20 November 2015.