Eight Royal Air Force Typhoon fighters from No 6 Squadron, based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, have begun the two-week Exercise Magic Carpet in Oman.
The No 6 Squadron jets are being supported by a detachment of nearly 250 RAF personnel and will conduct what the RAF describes as an “intensive two-week programme of training in the deserts of Oman to hone skills and capabilities that cannot be practised at home.”
The Officer Commanding No 6 Squadron, Wg Cdr Billy Cooper said: “What’s different for us here is we can be assured of reliable weather that means we can fly 12 sorties every day in conditions representative of operations. Availability of airspace is good and the ranges are well suited for our sortie profiles. We can practice our strafe attacks and perfect our precision bombing hitting pinpoint targets on the ground.”
He added: “The support from our Royal Air Force of Oman hosts at Thumrait air base is fantastic, the facilities here are excellent and they are incredibly welcoming. It is critical that we have the opportunity to work closely with our partners in the Middle East and the Omani hosted Exercise Magic Carpet is the perfect vehicle for that.“
Deployment of the RAF Typhoon to Oman is significant in that the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) is now also an operator of the type. Signature of a contract with BAE Systems for 12 Typhoons was announced on December 21, 2012, the deal comprising nine single-seat and three twin-seat aircraft.
On April 18, 2013, Alenia Aermacchi announced that it had signed a €170m contract with Eurofighter covering supply of components, systems and services, along with a five-year logistics support package, for the RAFO Typhoons. The first two aircraft for Oman, both two-seaters, made their maiden flights from BAE Systems’ production facility in Warton, Lancashire, on the same day, November 25 last year. This first pair departed from there on delivery on June 19 this year, headed for a new air base at Adam, about 100 miles (160km) southwest of Muscat, construction of which began in early 2010 specifically to house the Typhoons.