In 1998 Bahrain decided to equip another squadron of F-16s at Sheikh Isa AB. It was hoped by Bahrain to obtain the USN F-16N's that had been retired to AMARC earlier in 1994 and 1995. However, inspections showed that the airframes were no longer airworthy bacause of structural fatigue issues and the resulting cracks in the airframes. Expensive modifications seemed necessary to solve these issues. After some consideration, it was decided to purchase new aircraft instead This resulted in an order for ten single seat block 40 F-16s. The reason to opt for another batch of block 40s instead of the block 50 was that the entire fleet would be standardized. These newer block 40s did have AMRAAM capability and also have the more modern APX-113 IFF system installed. These features were later integrated on the existing fleet as well.
RBAF F-16C block 40 #206
from 2 sqn is parked on the ramp at Shaikh Isa AFB
. [Photo by Milslides APL
The 2nd Fighter Squadron shares its base with the 1st Fighter Squadron which also flies the F-16C/D block 40 and also with 6th Fighter Squadron which flies the F-5E/F 'Freedom Fighter'. 2nd Squadron is also responsible for F-16 conversion training.
On September 27th, 2003 the squadron lost its first F-16. This is fact is the first RBAF F-16 loss (and the only one to date). The pilot of the aircraft, Lieutenant Colonel Abdulaziz Snan Al Dossary, is thought to have become disorientated during training manoeuvres and flew into the Gulf 46 miles from Bahrain. This marks the impressive safety record of the F-16 (and also all other planes in Bahraini inventory) since up until this time the RBAF had not lost a single fighter since fighter aircraft entired their inventory in 1985.
RBAF F-16C block 40 #210
from 2 sqn is parked with opened canopy in front of a hardened shelter at Shaikh Isa AFB. [Photo by Milslides APL