Ali Al Salem Air Base
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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|
|Type||Kuwait Air Force base|
|Owner||Ministry of Defense|
|Operator||Kuwait Air Force|
|Elevation||144 metres (472 ft) AMSL|
|Sources: World Aero Data|
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. 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. 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.
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).
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.
- 12th Training Sqd BAE Hawk Mk.64
- 19th Training Sqd Shorts Tucano Mk.52
- 88th Training Sqd Aérospatiale SA-342K Gazelle
- 62nd Helicopter Sqd Aérospatiale SA-330H Puma
- 32nd Helicopter Sqd Eurocopter AS-332M Super Puma
- 33rd Helicopter Sqd Aérospatiale SA-342K Gazelle
- 17th ″Night wolf″ Attack Sqd AH-64D Longbow Apache
- 20th "The Dark Knights" Attack Sqd AH-64D Longbow Apache
Military intervention against ISILEdit
The base currently hosts several non-Kuwaiti military units, mainly 386th AEW USAF.
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.
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