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RBAF trains its attention on pilots

Posted 10 April 2019 · Add Comment

RBAF commander, Major General Hamad bin Abdullah al Khalifah, now has to face up to the challenge of ensuring there are enough aircrews trained to fly when the new F-16s and AH-1Zs arrive.

“We have already started that and there are pilots now training in the US for the F-16s,” he confirmed.
According to one source, there is already a Hawk pilot and one F-5 pilot in the US.
One problem the commander faces is that the Slingsby T-67 Fireflys, used for primary flying training, are currently grounded.
Student pilots are going to Egypt (Air Force Academy to fly Grob G 115EGs and Hongdu K-8s); Saudi Arabia (King Faisal Air Academy flying PC-9s and PC-21s); and United Arab Emirates (PC-7s and PC-21s at the Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayad Air College).
The pilots returning from Egypt will go directly to F-5s but if they have flown in Saudi and the UAE they start flying the Hawk Mk129s and then F-5s.
It seems an odd way of doing things and, perhaps, buying a new primary trainer could be an option. But, according to another source, with only 20 pilots being trained a year there is no point in funding such a solution.
The commander confirmed the 12 F-5E/Fs, delivered more than 20 years ago, would be sticking around for a while.
“The F-5s are being used as a multi-role platform; one of the roles is to provide lead-in-fighter-training (LIFT) to the F-16s because they are supersonic, while they still continue to work in the air-to-ground mission.”
The first of two ex-RAF C-130Js acquired by the RBAF arrived on the eve of the show which, according to the commander: “Will be an excellent addition to the air force because it was the only shortfall we had. They will give us a great capability for exercises and, yes, Yemen operations, too.”
The first aircrews and technicians were trained in the UK, but it is believed that another new eight-man crew is working up with the Spanish Air Force.
On the threat from Iran, he said: “It is historic, they have been threatening us for a long time, not only as a country but also through militias. The GCC is doing much better to counter that threat and we are pleased the international coalition now understands the problem.”
 

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