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Ali Al Salem Ab Airport

Ali Al Salem Air Base
قاعدة علي السالم الجوية
Entrance to the US Air Force side

Ali Al Salem
Air Base
Location of airport in Kuwait
Airport type Military
Owner Government of Kuwait
Operator Kuwait Air Force
Location Kuwait
Elevation AMSL 472 ft / 144 m
Coordinates 29°20′48″N 047°31′14″E / 29.34667°N 47.52056°E / 29.34667; 47.52056
Direction Length Surface
m ft
12R/30L 2,989 9,805 Concrete/Asphalt
12L/30R 2,989 9,805 Concrete/Asphalt

Ali Al Salem Air Base (ICAO: OKAS) is a military airbase situated in Kuwait, approximately 23 miles from the Iraqi border. The airfield is owned by the Government of Kuwait, and during Operation Southern Watch and Operation Telic / Operation Iraqi Freedom hosted Royal Air Force (RAF), United States Air Force (USAF) and United States Marine Corps (USMC) personnel and aircraft. Since those operations, the base has been returned to the control of the Kuwaiti Government, with the USAF continuing to maintain a presence alongside their Kuwait Air Force counterparts. The principal USAF unit on base is the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing (386 AEW).

Recent history

Significant bomb damage to a HAS incurred during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is still visible 15 years after the liberation of Ali Al Salem
Significant bomb damage to a HAS incurred during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait is still visible 15 years after the liberation of Ali Al Salem

In 1990, the base was the first to be overrun by the Iraqi Military. Fighting at that initial battle lasted for less than thirty minutes as most of the Kuwaiti military chose to flee, rather than face almost certain defeat. A small number of Kuwaiti regulars, staff officers, and the base General stayed to fight. Upon discovery by the Iraqi military, the Kuwaiti General was hanged from the base flagpole by Iraqi troops. New flagpoles have since been installed, however as of December 2007, the original pole still stands. The remaining Kuwaiti military personnel were lined up outside the old Kuwaiti officers' club and shot. While no longer used, the building and bullet holes remain.

Prior to 1990, the French, under contract, built large reinforced concrete Hardened Aircraft Shelters (HAS) for the Kuwaiti Air Force. The French told the Kuwaitis that the structures were impenetrable. After Iraq took over the base, they moved the Kuwaiti aircraft and parked the Iraqi aircraft in the hangars. The French impenetrable claim turned out to be wrong when the US and allied forces, in the opening hours of desert storm, punched through the concrete bunkers. The Kuwaitis are still involved in legal suits over the "impenetrable clause of the contract". The French claim that they had no way of foreseeing that the US had invented bunker busters - some say that the French intended for the bunkers to protect against Soviet-procured Iraqi weapons. You can see one of the "HAS" bunkers and the destruction done by the bunker busters on this page.

KAF use

The Kuwait Air Force Flight Training Center is located at Ali AlSalem AB and it is the home base of following squadrons:

  • 17th attack sqd
  • 20th attack sqd
  • 33rd attack sqd
  • Search & Rescue wing
    • 32nd SAR sqd
    • 62nd utility sqd
  • Flying School
    • 12 training sqd
    • 19 training sqd

RAF use

The Royal Air Force operated out of AAS from late 1998, just before Operation Desert Fox. The RAF detachment consisted of various non-formed units, and a rotating Squadron of Panavia Tornado GR1As and later Tornado GR4s. The base was rapidly expanded in early 2003 to base the Joint Helicopter Command assets prior to start of Operation Telic, the British designation for the US designated Operation Iraqi Freedom.

During the war, the RAF amalgamated five Tornado GR4 Squadrons based at AAS to form the Ali Al Salem Combat Air Wing, commanded by Wing Commander Paddy Teakle OBE (OC 31 'Goldstars' Squadron). He was awarded the DSO for his leadership.

The RAF had relocated to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar by 2004, though some elements remained through 2008, and it serves as a backup and emergency strip for RAF operations.

Current status

The base currently hosts several military units besides the Kuwaiti Air Force. They include United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard, United States Air Force, United States Navy, United States Army,


The airport resides at an elevation of 472 feet (144 m) above mean sea level. It has two asphalt/concrete runways: 12R/30L measuring 2,989 by 45 metres (9,806 × 148 ft) and 12L/30R measuring 2,989 by 40 metres (9,806 × 131 ft).

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General Info
Country Kuwait
Time UTC+3
Latitude 29.346742
29° 20' 48.27" N
Longitude 47.520753
047° 31' 14.71" E
Elevation 472 feet
144 meters
Type Military
Magnetic Variation 003° E (01/06)
Operating Agency MILITARY
Operating Hours 24 HOUR OPERATIONS

TWR 118.0
(303.0 prim)
METRO 372.725
GND 250.1
(302.0 prim)

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
12R/30L 9805 x 146 feet
2989 x 45 meters
12L/30R 9805 x 132 feet
2989 x 40 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid

Fuel Jet fuel avaiable but type is unknown.

A-GEAR A-G avbl 30 min PN by ctc afld mgr, DSN 318-442-2047. BAK-15 O/S UFN. Potentialexists for possible hook skip at S Hook MAAS (B) due to uneven pavements on 12R/30L where conc sfc meets asphalt sfc.
CAUTION Unlgtd hardened acft shelters 680' SW of rwy cntrln at thld of Rwy 12R/30L. Use ctn for unctl movement area w/hvy veh tfc on C-Loop. Potential FOD haz exists, especially on C-Loop. Aircrews should use extreme ctn and report FOD. Windsocks are not lit. A/D Bcn O/S. 12L and 12R are not visible fr ctl twr due to obst. Twyhave nstd mrk. Acft taxing to the W of hardened acft shelter 2 and 3 must flw displ twy cntrln, twy unuse for acft wingspans larger than a C130, small unlgtd bldg lctd 92 ft W of displ cntrln. See addn arr and dep pro in AP/2. All twy NE of 12L/30R are for C130 acft or smaller. The exception is the turnoff fr apch end30R to twy charlie to spot 14A (C17 or smaller). All twy btn the inside and outside rwy are suitable for C17.
LGT Emerg afld lgt sys (EALS) in use on Rwy 12R/30L and Rwy 12L/30R at reduced ints,non std lgt. This sys incl rwy, edge, thld, dep end lgt and PAPI. Rwy 12L/30R PAPI for mil use only (flyability checked). Rwy lgt on all rwy have potential tolose pwr wo ntc, dur these times exp to see AMP-3 lgt setup on rwy in use.
MISC First 1250' Rwys 12R/L and 30L/R conc, middle 7351' asphalt. No radar apch ctl avbl, fly full apch pro on all inst pro. No COMSEC stor avbl at base OPS.
RSTD PPR 24 hr PN rqr. Ctc Afld Mgr at DSN 318-442-2047 or Comd Post DSN 318-442-2920(Opr H24). All US acft ctc Comd Post 30 min prior to ldg. Afld rstd to C17 acftor smaller. 48 hr prior coord with host nation and Afld Mgr apvl for larger that C-17 acft. Due to narrow twy, C130 and P3 acft will taxi to and fr rwy with only inboard motors. All acft executing 180 turns on either rwy 12R/30/L must perform the manuever on last 1250' (conc ends) of the rwy. Severe rwy sfc damage and FOD will result if rstd is not flw. Acft prk extremely ltd. Deviations over 1 hr after sked time will result in lengthy delays. Acft with VIP ctc comd post 30min prior to ldg with ETA and code.
RWY Rwy 12L/30R used as a main parl Twy. Acft arr on 12R/30L must hold short and ctcGND before cros 12L/30R (Main Twy) unless instr otherwise.

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