Air power has always been important in the dynamics of the Middle East. Emir Abdullah recognised this at the start of the Arab Revolt in 1916 when the Hashemite army were facing many difficulties. He commented from Medina that Bedouin encampments were being bombed by Turkish aircraft (who were flying unopposed in the skies of the Hejaz) and this was having a demoralising effect on the tribesmen. He said that both he and Emir Feisal felt strongly that unless air support was provided they would have difficulties with the loyalty of their troops who were unaccustomed to this type of warfare.
These events stayed in the memory of Emir Abdullah and were the prime motivation in his struggle to form an air force in Jordan.
The first military air activities in the skies of Jordan were in August 1917 during the Arab Revolt, when the Arab forces requested the British Royal Flying Corps in Egypt to bomb the town of Ma’an (in the south of Jordan) in order to soften up the Turkish garrison. The first sortie was on August 28 when four aircraft successfully raided in and around the railway station. In January 1918 six Royal Flying Corps aircraft were stationed in Aqaba and were used for both reconnaissance and bombing raids on Turkish positions. From then on the RFC and the Australian Flying Corps supported the forces of the Arab Revolt and the Allies until they reached Damascus, establishing complete air superiority over the Turks.
Until 1922 RAF activity in Trans-Jordan was controlled from Palestine, but subsequently moved to Amman with No 14 Squadron being formed to assist the new Emirate of Trans-Jordan in April, 1921. The air bases of RAF Amman and RAF Mafraq were established in 1931, but Amman airfield was too small for large aircraft so Mafraq was the major base for international flights.
The RAF operated in support of the Arab Legion and the Trans-Jordan Frontier Force and during the 20s and 30s the RAF assisted with reconnaissance missions and support with tribal problems.