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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
Ali al Salem Welcome.JPG
Entrance to the US Air Force side
Summary
Airport typeMilitary
OwnerGovernment of Kuwait
OperatorKuwait Air Force
United States Air Force
LocationKuwait
Elevation AMSL472 ft / 144 m
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
Map
OKAS is located in Kuwait
OKAS
OKAS
Location of airport in Kuwait
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12R/30L 2,989 9,805 Concrete/Asphalt
12L/30R 2,989 9,805 Concrete/Asphalt
Sources:[1]

Contents

Recent 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.

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.

Kuwait Air Force UseEdit

The Kuwait Air Force Flight Training School is located at Ali Al Salem Air Base and it is the home base of following squadrons:

Royal Air Force UseEdit

The Royal Air Force operated out of AAS 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.

Current statusEdit

The base currently hosts several military units besides the Kuwaiti Air Force mainly 386th AEW USAF.

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]

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

The base expansion is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2020, with the delivery of the 22 Eurofighters to follow 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.