Al-Safran Air Base

Liwa AB is located in United Arab Emirates
Liwa AB
Liwa AB
Location in the United Arab Emirates
Direction 22 Length Surface
ft m
13/31 12,040 3,670 Paved

The Al-Safran Air Base (ICAO: OMLW,[1] alternatively called Liwa[2]) is a military air base operated by the United Arab Emirates Air Force, located approximately 80 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, near Madinat Zayed.[3][4]


Construction of the base cost an estimated $1 billion.[3] Construction was carried out by Capriole Construction Co. LLC.[5] A Mirage 2000 squadron was moved to the base in 2007, and it was completed in approximately 2008.[3][6] The base underwent an expansion of its airport apron in 2017, the same year it added six new aircraft shelters.[7]


The base has one runway, hardened aircraft shelters, and a subterranean ammunition dump.[3] The bases houses two ground control stations.[7] The base is defended by the Super aEgis II sentry gun.[8]


  1. ^ "UAE Aeronautical Information Publication GEN 2.4" (PDF). General Civil Aviation Authority. 2018-11-08. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2021-04-03. Retrieved 2021-04-03.
  2. ^ Olson, Richard Gustave (February 9, 2010). "US embassy cables: UAE prince fears 'logic of war'". The Guardian. The UAE recently hosted an AFCENT survey team to consider U.S. access to Liwa (Safran) Air Base in support of contingency operations.
  3. ^ a b c d Tim Ripley (1 January 2010). Middle East Air Power in the 21st Century. Casemate Publishers. p. 240. ISBN 978-1-84884-099-7.
  4. ^ Sweetman, Bill; Osborne, Tony. "It's Open Season For Defense Sales To UAE". Aviation Week. Al-Dhafra AB, a major hub for USAF operations in the region, is the main UAE fighter base, while a new facility called Al-Safran, built in the desert near Madinat Zayed, is home to Mirage 2000 units.
  5. ^ "List of projects". Abo Raia Technical Work LLC. Retrieved October 6, 2018. Construction of Different facilities at Safran Airbase Safran Airbase, Liwa [...] Capriole Construction Co.LLc
  6. ^ Osborne, Tony. "UAE's Mysterious Airbase". Aviation Week. This led to the construction of a new fighter air base called Al-Safran AB near the town of Al-Gharbia, housing at least one Mirage 2000 unit. Al-Safran is believed to have opened between around 2008.
  7. ^ a b Bellingcat Investigation Team (October 2, 2018). "UAV Infrastructure Noted at the UAE's al-Safran Airbase". bellingcat.
  8. ^ Parkin, Simon (July 16, 2015). "Killer robots: The soldiers that never sleep". BBC News. The Super aEgis II, first revealed in 2010, is one of a new breed of automated weapon, able to identify, track and destroy a moving target from a great distance, theoretically without human intervention [...] The turret is currently in active use in numerous locations in the Middle East, including three airbases in the United Arab Emirates (Al Dhafra, Al Safran and Al Minad)[...]