RSAF Patch da Sqn Royal Saudi Air Force 2 Squadron Lightning
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RSAF Patch da Sqn Royal Saudi Air Force 2 Squadron Lightning

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RSAF Patch Saudi Arabia Royal Saudi Air Force 2 Squadron Crest F 53 T 55 Lightning Fighter 1968 Tabuk Air Base British made Embroidered Applique on wool cut edge 145mm by 103mm five and three quarter inches by four and one sixteenth inches

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2 Squadron was activated at Tabuk Air Base northwest Saudi Arabia in 1968 equipped with RSAF F 53 Lightning fighter bombers and T 55 Lightning two seat fighter bomber and training aircraft under the Magic Palm contract with British aircraft Corporation tasked with air defence and ground attack. The Saudi F 53 and T 55 Lightnings were manufactured with additional air to ground capability with rocket pods and bombs on under wing and over wing pylons and hard points. The Squadron was RSAFs second Squadron to equip with Lightning fighter bombers following the initial 1966 BAC Magic Carpet contract for ex RAF F 52 and T 54 Lightnings and Hunters fighters operated by 6 Squadron 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.

A number of aircrew were initially deployed to the UK from 1968 to be trained by the RAFs Royal Saudi Air Force Flight of 226 Operational Conversion Unit at RAF Coltishall using the first four Royal Saudi Air Force T 55 trainer Lightnings later delivered to Lightning Conversion Unit at King Abdul Aziz Air Base Dhahran in autumn 1969 when 226 OCUs training mission ended. The Squadron trained for ground attack with the F 53 and the T 55 where a weapons officer would occupy the second seat and tactical reconnaissance. 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. 2 Squadron continued with air defence interception and reconnaissance tasking and began Dissimilar Air Combat Training with RSAF F 5E fighter units in 1978.

When 6 and 13 Squadrons converted to F 15C and F 15D Eagles under the Peace Sun programme during 1982 all remaining Lightning F 52 F 53 T 54 and T 55 aircraft were reassigned to 2 Squadron at Tabuk AB becoming the last RSAF unit to operate Lightning aircraft. As part of the 1985 agreement to purchase the Tornado for the RSAF the remaining 22 operational Lightning aircraft were to be traded back to British Aerospace The Squadron undertook its last Lightning flight on 22 January 1986 and retired its Lightning fleet and returned them to Bae Warton at the end of January 1986.

2 Squadron relocated to King Fahd AB Taif and reequipped with F 5E Tiger fighter bomber aircraft delivered under the Peace Hawk IV programme for the strike attack role. The Squadron received assistance from the Unites States Military Training Mission USMTM detachment at Taif AB with instructor pilots and visiting USAF aggressor pilots to train on Soviet aerial tactics. Pilots began Dissimilar Air Combat Training against Lightning fighters in 1978 with a number of missions included the F 5Es towing a large inert target dart. The Squadron deployed some personnel for the RSAF team for Red Flag 81 1 exercise at Nellis AFB USA in November 1980 which used four F 5Bs six F 5E and two F 5F aircraft borrowed from  USAFs 425 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron marked with both USAF and RSAF insignia. The Teams twelve pilots undertook 135 of the planned 140 sorties with aircraft prepared by their own RSAF ground personnel.

F 5 depot level airframe and avionics maintenance at Taif AB and full operation of the F 5 was transferred to Saudi Arabian personnel in the early 1980s with Taif Saudi ground crews taking total responsibility for their aircraft. Following the transition of 7 Squadron at Dhahran AB from the F 5 to Tornado IDS fighter bombers one F 5E five F 5F and thirteen F 5B were reassigned to Taif AB in July 1986 and distributed to 2 Sqn Strike 3 Sqn OCU and Reconnaissance and 10 Sqn interceptor and strike. AGM 65A and AGM 65B missiles received in 1986 provided additional attack capability for the Squadron.

2 Squadron along with the other Taif AB F 5 Squadrons deployed assets to Tabuk following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 for Operation Desert Shield at the same time Taif AB became a main combat base for Coalition air operations with USAF units and personnel taking over much of the base including U2 reconnaissance aircraft deployed from 17 Reconnaissance Wing RAF Alconbury and 9 Strategic Reconnaissance Wing Beale AFB as 1704 Recon Squadron Provisional sixty six F 111 Aardvarks from 48 TFW at RAF Lakenheath and EF 111A aircraft from 390 Electronic Combat Squadron from Mountain Home AFB. The RSAF F 5 Squadrons and the deployed USAF units all took part in combat missions during Operation Desert Storm.

The Squadrons 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 USAF units continued operations from Taif AB while its F 5 Squadron assets continued deployed border operations during the 1990s with Operation Southern Watch and the No Fly Zone.

Taif AB was redesignated King Fahd 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 2 Wing established at KFAB Taif. Taif again became a Coalition operational combat base with the build up and execution of Operation Iraqi Freedom the invasion of Iraq on 20 March 2003 to 1 May 2003 with 2 Squadron assets supporting RSAF operations.

2 Squadron  relocated to 7 Wing King Faisal AB Tabuk in March 2003 and converted from F 5s to F 15C single seat and F 15D two seat Eagle air superiority fighters released by 6 Squadron when they upgraded to F 15S Strike Eagle fighter bomber aircraft in the late 1990s. 2 Squadron participated in Exercise Green Shield 2012 when hosted at KFAB Tabuk with three visiting French Air Force Rafales and three Mirage 2000Ds and deployed to BA 133 Nancy Ochey France for Exercise Green Shield 2014.

With contracts for British aircraft equipment and training and the use of ex Royal Air Force pilots and personnel in the 1950s and 1960s Squadrons adopted unit flying suit patches based on RAF crest design with a central logo within a frame indented each side for the Squadron number and with a motto in scroll below and a Royal crown above. Crest patches were mainly manufactured in Britain with a number made by US manufacturers. With the contracts for US aircraft and training USAF style circular and shield shaped patches with new logos replaced crest patches in the mid 1970s and early 1980s with new unit patches provided by US aircraft manufacturers particularly for F 15 Squadrons. Patches changed again in the early 1990s when RSAF decided to standardise unit logos and to replace depictions of living creatures on RSAF emblems with stylised designs.

 

This patch dates from 1968.

 

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