As part of the RAF Regiment 80th anniversary celebrations, the RAF Regiment Corps Artist Stuart Brown has been commissioned to produce a painting depicting the Defence of RAF Salalah by RAF Regiment Gunners during the Dhofar Campaign.
In July 2021 a small group of RAF Regiment Dhofar veterans and the Corps Historian, Dr Nigel Warwick, were invited to meet with Stuart Brown. The meeting allowed the veterans to bring their experiences to influence the final version of the painting whilst Dr Nigel Warwick offered historical accuracy to the vision.
I’m delighted to see Stuart Brown’s superb painting of the defence of RAF Salalah, which captures the essence of the fierce battles fought there by the RAF Regiment. When the then Corps Warrant Officer and I commissioned the painting, we wanted to mark the courage and fortitude of those RAF Regiment men who fought in the Dhofar campaign. Stuart’s work is an impressive and fitting tribute to them.
Air Commodore (Retired) Miller
Former Commandant General (RAF Regiment)
Defence of RAF Salalah
An intensive counter-insurgency campaign was fought in the Dhofar region of Oman from 1965 to 1976. A major factor in the ultimate defeat of the insurgent force, the Adoo, was air support by the Sultan of Oman’s Air Force flying from the airbase at Royal Air Force Salalah.
The hardcore of airbase defence for Salalah came from flights detached in a roulement from United Kingdom-based Nos II, 15 and 51 Squadrons Royal Air Force Regiment. Defence was provided from defended fortifications known as 'Hedgehogs,' located up to five miles beyond the airbase perimeter. The frequent Adoo small-arms fire, mortar and rocket attacks were detected using the Marconi-Elliott ZB298 ground radar system.
Royal Air Force Regiment Gunners responded to the threat with 0.5-inch Browning Heavy Machine Guns, General Purpose Machine Guns and 81mm mortars. The airbase perimeter was never breached, and air operations were sustained, uninterrupted, for the entire operation.
From 1972 until 1978, Royal Air Force Regiment officers served on secondment to the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces as infantry company commanders and deployed on operations, together with senior non-commissioned officers of the Regiment.
The Royal Air Force Regiment ceased operations at Royal Air Force Salalah in June 1975 following the successful conclusion of the campaign.