The United Kingdom’s Red Arrows joined QEAF and RAF Typhoon jets for an exciting flypast for spectators and senior representatives from both air forces gathered in Doha’s harbour.

The RAF Typhoons were from 12 Squadron, the joint UK-Qatar Typhoon squadron, which is currently deployed to Qatar to support the formation of the QEAF’s first Typhoon squadron and to support air security operations for the upcoming FIFA World Cup.

12 Squadron is currently deployed to Dukhan Air Base in Qatar for six months on ‘Project Thariyat’.

Photographer: AS1 Tomas Barnard RAF – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Since September 2022, 200 personnel and eight Typhoon aircraft have deployed from RAF Coningsby to support the formation of the QEAF’s first Typhoon squadron.

1 Wing is the QEAF’s new Typhoon wing, of which 7 Squadron is the first QEAF Typhoon squadron. 1 Wing will be home to the 24 Typhoon aircraft Qatar has purchased.

So far, BAE Systems has delivered the first four aircraft from the UK. Alongside the associated RAF training package, this purchase supports jobs in the UK, particularly in the north of England.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, Chief of the Air Staff, said:

“The skill and professionalism of the Qatari pilots and engineers at Dukhan Airbase is testament to their commitment, and to the remarkable partnership with the Royal Air Force to develop the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s new Typhoon Wing.

“The strong bond and camaraderie between our nations pilots and engineers in 12 Squadron reflects the close relationship between our air forces. I look forward to continuing to work with the Qatar in tackling our shared security challenges.”

Typhoons from 7 Squadron, the QEAF’s first Typhoon squadron, flew alongside the RAF in the flypast. To successfully form 7 Squadron, the two air forces are collaborating in Qatar to apply the knowledge gained while working together on the joint Typhoon squadron at RAF Coningsby.

Major General (Pilot) Jassim Mohammad Ahmed Al-Mannai, Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, said:

During the FIFA World Cup, 12 Squadron and an RAF Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft will support counter-terrorism efforts with air security operations. This is part of a wider UK contribution to the tournament’s security overseen by the Qatar government, to help deliver a safe and successful event for football fans from the UK and across the world.

12 Squadron’s deployment to Qatar builds upon the strong bilateral defence relationship between Qatar and the UK, exemplified by 12 Squadron – the RAF’s first joint squadron with another nation since the Second World War. By supporting the QEAF in building its own Typhoon capability, the RAF enhances Qatar’s ability to tackle our shared security challenges.

The display in Qatar by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team is part of a month-long visit to the Gulf and Egypt by the Red Arrows. The tour spans a combination of air shows, flypasts and ground engagement.

It is a tangible demonstration of the UK’s enduring commitment to a safe, secure and prosperous Gulf region and aims to support a range of interests across defence, trade and education.

Photographer: Cpl Ed Wright RAF – UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

DID YOU KNOW?

  • ‘Thariyat’ translates as ‘Typhoon’ in Arabic and is referenced in the Quran as a strong holy wind.
  • The UK MoD’s support to Qatar’s tournament security for the FIFA World Cup 2022 includes air and maritime security capabilities, Counter-Improvised Explosive Device advanced venue search training, operational planning support, command and control support and further specialist advice.
  • The Red Arrows’ display over Doha is the team’s first display there since 2017. Officially known as the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows showcase the excellence of the RAF and represent the United Kingdom both at home and overseas. The team consists of pilots and more than 100 support personnel and technicians. Each of the pilots has previous fast-jet operational experience, such as flying the Typhoon, enabling the RAF to secure the skies and protect the nation and its interests, 365-days a year. One of the world’s premier aerobatic teams, the Red Arrows had completed nearly 5,000 displays in 57 countries by the beginning of 2022 and fly the BAE Systems Hawk T1 fast-jet. The team is currently carrying out a five-week tour to the Gulf and Egypt, with a programme of activities including several sessions focussed on promoting science, technology, engineering and maths to young people, supporting a range of UK interests as part of the Government’s GREAT Britain campaign.
  • The Qatar Emiri Air Force aerobatic display team flies the PC-21 from the QEAF’s Al Zaeem Air Academy.
  • 12 Squadron, the joint RAF-QEAF Typhoon squadron, is part of the Qatar Air Programmes which comprises of agreements between Qatar and the UK to provide defence equipment, training and support. As part of this programme, an RAF Voyager makes occasional deployments to Qatar to provide air-to-air refueling capability and training, including for the FIFA World Cup air security operations.
Main Photo – Photographer: Cpl Ed Wright RAF UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

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