On Monday 26 March the British Ambassador to Kuwait, HE Michael Davenport, hosted a reception of distinguished guests to celebrate 100th birthday of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), the world’s oldest independent air force. Founded on 1 April 1918 during the closing months of the First World War, the RAF has worked tirelessly for one hundred years to guarantee peace and security around the world. This centenary year provides an opportunity to: commemorate 100 years of extraordinary success, achievement and sacrifice; celebrate the professionalism and dedication of today’s RAF; and inspire the next generation of men and women who will shape the RAF’s next hundred years.
Over the last century the RAF has continually evolved to meet the changing nature of aviation and global politics. Always at the cutting edge of innovation and technology, today’s RAF is a hugely capable, modern and versatile military force, comprising combat aircraft such as the Typhoon and Tornado GR4 and larger passenger and freight carrying aircraft such as Voyager and C-17, and the more tactical A400M Atlas and Hercules C-130J aircraft. These assets allow the RAF to remain at the forefront of operations, moving personnel and freight from UK forces and our allies across the globe. In addition, the RAF is able to provide rapid response to emerging humanitarian crises worldwide.
The RAF continues to enjoy a very special relationship with the people of Kuwait demonstrated most visibly with visits by the world famous aerobatic display team, the Red Arrows, in 2013, 2016 and most recently in September 2017. Since the Liberation of Kuwait in 1991, the RAF has continued to play a significant role in the security of this region, initially through enforcement of the Southern and Northern No Fly Zones in Iraq. This role saw Royal Air Force aircraft and personnel stationed at Ali Al Salem air base throughout the 1990s until the removal from power in Iraq of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Today, the RAF supports ongoing operations to defeat Dae’sh in Syria and Iraq.
Testament to the strength of this enduring relationship is the extraordinarily generous gift by the State of Kuwait of £5m in November 2017 to expand the RAF Museum in Hendon in north London – you are encouraged to visit on your next visit to the United Kingdom!
During the event, the British Ambassador to Kuwait Mr. Michael Davenport delivered a speech on the importance of this occasion. He said:
We are fortunate indeed to have a strong and very special bond with Kuwait. The Royal Air Force has played its part in that, from the earliest days of its existence. The State of Kuwait was generous enough to recognise the role of the RAF in Kuwait’s history by making a substantive donation to the RAF Museum in Hendon to enable a new wing of the museum to be opened this summer to coincide with the 100th anniversary.
In 2019 we will be marking 120 years since the signing of the Treaty of Friendship between Kuwait and the United Kingdom. During that time we have stood alongside one another, and together with mutual friends and allies, in facing common threats.