BOX: Arab air forces

WASHINGTON — The United States has enlisted the help of Arab militaries in pursuing attacks on fighters of the Islamic State within Syria.

The Associated Press reported the following U.S. assets were used:

* U.S. missiles: 47 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles launched from the USS Arleigh Burke and USS Philippine Sea, operating from international waters in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf.

* U.S. aircraft: Air Force B-1 bombers, F-15E attack planes, F-16 fighters and F-22 fighters — the Raptor’s combat debut — as well as Navy F/A-18 fighters; two types of drone aircraft.

The Pentagon also said that Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates participated in air attacks, with Qatar’s air force providing unspecified support though not attacking ground targets.

Here’s a look at some of the capabilities of the nations involved:


As for jet fighters, Jordan has perhaps 70 operational fighters, a mix of F-16 Fighting Falcons and F-5 Tiger aircraft. It also has some two dozen AH-1 Bell attack helicopters.

Saudi Arabia

The Royal Saudi air force has 38 squadrons operating hundreds of fighter aircraft, the crown jewel of which is the F-15 Strike Eagle, also including Tornado IDS ground attack aircraft, the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole, and a host of F-15 variants.


The Royal Bahrain air force flies a mix of F-16s and F-5s, some three dozen fighters in all.

United Arab Emirates

The UAE air force has more than 150 fighter aircraft, somewhat evenly divided between the F-16E/F and the French-made Dassault Mirage 2000, with some refueling capability.


The Qatari air force includes the Mirage fighter, which was used over Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn. It has a small number of transport aircraft, including C-130s and C-17s.


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