RSAF Patch da Sqn Royal Saudi Air Force b 13 Squadron Ops F 15 b
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RSAF Patch da Sqn Royal Saudi Air Force b 13 Squadron Ops F 15 b

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RSAF Patch Saudi Arabia Royal Saudi Air Force 13 Squadron F 15C F 15D Eagle 1981 Dhahran Air Base Embroidered on twill merrowed edge 125mm by 95mm four and fifteen sixteenth by three and three quarter inches.

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Royal Saudi Air Force Lightning Conversion Unit was established at Dhahran Air Base in 1968 equipped with Magic Carpet contract Lightning F 52 fighter bombers and T 54 fighter bomber trainers released by 6 Squadrons transitioned to new Saudi specified Lightning F 53 fighter bombers and Lightning T 55 two seat fighter bomber and training aircraft under the Magic Palm programme. The 1966 Magic Carpet contract between Saudi Arabia and the UK was to enable RSAF to prevent incursions by Egyptian Mig fighters across Saudi Arabia and insurgent and Egyptian air to ground attacks on Saudi villages bordering Yemen in support of Egyptian troops fighting on the Republican insurgency side during the civil war in Yemen with Saudi Arabia supporting the Royalist side. The Magic Palm programme provided additional aircraft and support with new Saudi specified F 53 and T 55 Lightnings manufactured with additional air to ground capability with rocket pods and bombs on under wing and over wing pylons and hard points. LCU added a number of F 53 Lighting fighter bombers to its fleet later in the year. A number of aircrew were initially deployed to the UK from 1968 to be trained by the RAFs 226 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Coltishall using the first four Royal Saudi Air Force T 55 trainer Lightnings which were delivered to Lightning Conversion Unit at Dhahran in 1969 when 226 OCUs training mission ended. Lightning OCU deployed assets to carry out rocket and bomb ground attack missions with F 53 against Yemeni forces from December 1969 to May 1970 during the border dispute with South Yemen. Hosilities ceased later in 1970 when the Republicans and the Royalists formed a coalition government and the country was reformed into Arab Republic of Yemen.

The Lightnings ground attack role was reassigned to the new F 5E Tiger units commencing with 15 Squadron in 1974 on its retasking when reequipped with F 5E Tiger fighter bomber aircraft delivered under Peace Hawk II programme. Lightning Conversion Unit continued with Lightning conversion training air defence interception and reconnaissance tasking.

Lightning Conversion Unit was upgraded to Squadron status and redesignated 13 Squadron in March 1977 at Dhahran Air Base. The Squadron provided aircrew conversion training to the Lightning as well as training for interception and ground attack with the F 53 and the T 55 where a weapons officer would occupy the second seat and tactical reconnaissance as an operational Squadron. 13 Squadron began Dissimilar Air Combat Training with RSAF F 5E fighter units in 1978.

13 Squadron transferred its remaining Lightning aircraft to 2 Squadron at Tabuk Air Base and became the first RSAF unit to begin equipping with McDonnell Douglas F 15 C single seat and D two seat Eagle Air Superiority fighters in August 1981 under the Peace Sun programme to replace the RSAF Lightnings and remained assigned Dhahran Air Base. A number of air and ground crews were deployed to Luke AFB US for training on the new types.  The Squadron stood interception alert and carried out Combat Air Patrols during the Iran Iraq War to protect Saudi Arabia its territorial waters and its sea navigation routes in the Gulf until the War ended with the truce of 20 July 1988.

Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990 the Squadron was joined by asset from 6 Squadron which deployed to Dhahran Air Base from Khamis Mushait AB and undertook combat air patrols along the border with Kuwait and Iraq to counter Iraqs threatened attacks on Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. 13 Squadron undertook 1932 sorties and 5582 hours in support of Operation Desert Shield to defend the Northern and Eastern frontiers of Saudi Arabia. Combat operations continued during Operation Desert Storm commencing January 1991 with shared CAPs with British Tornado F 3 and USAF F 15C aircraft. Iraqis attempted to mount a strike against the major Saudi oil refinery in Abqaiq on the Gulf coast on 24 January 1991 with three Mirage F 1 fighters armed with Exocet anti ship missiles and incendiary bombs and two MiG 23 fighter escorts. The group was spotted by USAF E 3 Sentry AWACS aircraft and two 13 Squadron F 15Cs were ordered to intercept scattering the MiGs before Captain Ayedh Al Shamrani got behind the Mirages still pressing for their attack and shot down both aircraft. 13 Squadron undertook 1016 sorties and 3369 flying hours during Operation Desert Storm.

13 Squadron emblem was changed in 1992 when RSAF decided to standardise unit logos and to remove the depictions of living creatures on RSAF emblems as not in accordance with Islamic scripture. Whilst Desert Storm successfully ejected the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait in March 1991 and degraded Iraqs military capability 13 Squadron border operations continued during the 1990s with Operation Southern Watch and the No Fly Zone. 

The Squadron began upgrading to F 15S Strike Eagles strike fighter in 1996 adding strike attack capability to its tasking. Dhahran AB was redesignated King Abdullah Aziz Air Base in 1999 when all RSAF air bases were named after members of the Saudi Royal family and RSAF introduced its Wing system to control and support base Squadrons with two wings 3 Wing and 11 Wing established at King Abdullah Aziz Air Base Dhahran with 13 Sqn allocated to 3 Wing.

The Squadron continued Combat Air Patrols during Operation Iraqi Freedom the invasion of Iraq from 20 March to 1 May 2003. The Squadron participated with RSAF Tornados in strikes against the Houthi insurgency in north Yemen in November 2009. 13 Squadron undertook strike attack operations against ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria from 2014 and along with other Arab coalition assets began striking targets in Yemen on 26 March 2015 as part of Operation Decisive Storm the Saudi Arabian led intervention in Yemen in support of Government forces against Houthi and rebel insurgents continuing during 2016.


This patch dates from the 1980s


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