Earlier this week RAF Typhoon FGR4s arrived at Thumrait Air Base in Dhofar Governorate, Oman, for the annual bilateral exercise Magic Carpet 21 with the Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO).
Typhoons from II Army Co-operation (AC) Squadron at RAF Lossiemouth, Scotland, and 12 Squadron at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, have deployed to Oman for the two-week exercise. The aircraft were supported by a single RAF Voyager KC2 from RAF Brize Norton, Oxford, which will provide an air-to-air refuelling capability throughout the exercise, while also embarking 300 RAF personnel who will support activities in the country.
Exercise Magic Carpet will see the RAF and RAFO work in collaboration to deliver air-to-ground combat training and air-to-air training to pilots from both air forces. Joint Terminal Attack Controllers from the RAF are also in Oman to co-ordinate live air-to-surface fires from the Typhoons.
The Detachment Commander and Officer Commanding II (AC) Squadron, who was not named, said: "During the two-week exercise we will be conducting challenging flying missions together with our Omani colleagues, continuing to build on our close longstanding relationship with Oman.
“We are working together very much as equal partners in the relationship. Integrating every element of our operations from planning to briefing, flying, and debriefing. There are many opportunities to learn and develop from our collective experience," the officer said.
Given the close diplomatic ties between the UK and the Sultanate of Oman, the exercise provides the RAF the opportunity to train with a close ally in a unique environment.
According to a November 9 RAF release Magic Carpet “displays further evidence of the UK’s integrated approach to defence and foreign policy and the UK’s commitment to regional security and stability whilst working with Oman and Gulf partners.”