RAFO pilot Major Ahmed with RAF Mission Systems Operator Flight Sergeant Paul Riley

Friday 20th September 2019

Royal Air Force Typhoon combat jets are being prepared to leave the arid desert of Oman for the tropical, humidity of Malaysia as Exercise Magic Carpet concludes this week.

The two-week joint exercise has seen the jets from 3(Fighter) Squadron, RAF Coningsby operate alongside Typhoons, F-16s and other Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) aircraft following an invitation to participate by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the RAFO. Omani Typhoon pilots have also been able to sharpen their air-to-air refuelling skills with a Voyager from RAF Brize Norton.

In charge of the RAF detachment has been Typhoon pilot and Squadron boss, Wing Commander Steve Kenworthy. He said,

“The purpose of being here is to conduct defence engagement with the Omanis to build on our longstanding relationship with the Omanis building on the good work we conducted during Exercise SAIF SAREEA last year”

“The Omanis are very professional, they work to very similar standards, techniques and procedures as us, so integrating with them is pretty straight forward. We are working together very much as equal partners in the relationship. We plan alongside each other; we brief alongside each other and we fly alongside each other.”

Assisted and supported by more than two hundred RAF ground personnel from Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and technicians to chefs and medics, the multi-role Typhoons have flown a range of highly realistic training sorties.  The exercise has also seen RAF and RAFO air operations controllers, fire fighters and photographers working side by side.

Wing Commander Waleed observing RAFO Typhoon receiving fuel from Voyager
RAFO Typhoon ‘topping up’ from RAF Voyager

Wing Commander Kenworthy added,   

“For 3 Squadron specifically it’s a phenomenal training environment for operations; the weather, the climate and the desert”

Running the exercise has been former RAFO Jaguar pilot, Wing Commander Waleed Al Naabi. He said,

“Exercise Magic Carpet reflects the robust and enduring cooperation between the Royal Air Force of Oman and the Royal Air Force as well as the state of relationship between our two countries.

“The aim of this exercise is to create the room and the environment for skill change and staff interaction, both at an operational and a tactical level, as well as on the planning and execution of all exercise missions; moreover to provide realistic air combat training for all participating pilots and their crew members.

“I wish that all participating members had a successful and beneficial exercise and we are looking forward to seeing you again in upcoming joint exercises here in Oman.”  

Refuelled mid-air along the way by Voyager, the Typhoon jets will now fly onto Malaysia where they will be handed over to II(AC) Squadron from RAF Lossiemouth to participate in the multi-national Exercise Bersama Lima.

Top image: RAFO pilot Major Ahmed with RAF Mission Systems Operator Flight Sergeant Paul Riley  

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