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New exhibition to explore the History of Friendship between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman

Published on: 27 June 2014

The Enduring Relationship Logo

Great Britain and Oman have enjoyed an enduring relationship for over 200 years that stretches back to a Treaty of Friendship in 1798. This broader relationship has been replicated in the close professional co-operation that has developed between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman. It is a relationship that continues to develop into the 21st Century with the Royal Air Force of Oman’s purchase of the Eurofighter Typhoon and the latest Hawk Advanced Jet Trainer from BAE Systems.

An Omani Pilot from the 1950s

Formed in 1959 from a nucleus of Scottish Aviation Pioneers and Hunting Percival Provosts, and manned by Royal Air Force loan officers, the Royal Air Force of Oman (originally named the Sultan of Muscat and Oman’s Air Force) has grown into one of the most capable air forces in the Middle East. This achievement has been supported throughout by mutual respect, friendship and encouragement between the Royal Air Force and the Royal Air Force of Oman.

In a brand new exhibition, curated with the support of the Archives Division of the Royal Air Force of Oman, the Royal Air Force Museum tells the story of this enduring relationship through the experiences of officers and men, from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Air Force of Oman and British industry who have played an important part in creating a modern, professional and highly effective air force.

The RAF Museum’s Hawker Hunter FR10 gate guardian was donated in 2003 by Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said. It was unveiled in its current location in 2011 by the RAF Museum’s Director-General, Air Vice-Marshal (ret’d) Peter Dye and Air Vice-Marshal Yahya bin Rasheed Al Juma, then Commander of the Royal Air Force of Oman.

The story will range from the Royal Air Force’s involvement in the Middle East from its formation in 1918 and includes highlights such as the visit of Sultan Taimur bin Faisal to Royal Air Force Hendon in 1928 as the guest of the British government to watch an Air Pageant as well as the vital support offered by Oman to Great Britain during the Second World War through the purchase of Spitfires flown by the Royal Air Force.

The Royal Air Force of Oman today

Aviation Historian and exhibition curator Ross Mahoney stated:
“Throughout its history, the Royal Air Force has supported the development of a family of air forces that share a common set of values. The RAF’s relationship with RAFO is proof of the enduring importance of this shared set of values based on respect and friendship, which began with the latter’s formation in 1959 and continues to this day and into the future.”

Air Commodore Musallam Al-Zeidi, Royal Air Force of Oman said:  
"The outstanding and deep-rooted relations between the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) signify the close cooperation and mutual understanding between the two services in various fields in general and the field of defence in particular. Under the umbrella of this distinguished relations, the Royal Air Force has contributed greatly to Oman through providing expertise and technical knowhow to our personnel and we are sure that Royal Air Force will spare no effort in providing the requisite training which will put our fledgling Air Force in a good stead and enable it to keep abreast with the latest technological advancements. The close cooperation has carved a worldwide niche as unique relation and will continue to be so for years to come."   

BAE Systems’ Vice President in Oman, Sir Simon Bryant, commented:
“It is a great honour for BAE Systems to be supporting this exhibition. We, along with our predecessor companies, have taken delight in working with the Omani armed forces for decades. Through our current Hawk and Typhoon programmes we are looking forward to continuing with this relationship. The exhibition will provide the many people that visit it with a wealth of information of how the Royal Air Force of Oman has developed into the great Air Force that it is today.”

An Enduring Relationship will open to the public on 16 July and will be on display in the Museum's Milestones of Flight Gallery until 14 July 2015. Admission to this exhibition and to the Museum are free of charge.

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