Six fast-jet Typhoons flown by the joint Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Typhoon squadron have been a regular sight above Doha over the last two weeks, taking part in Exercise Epic Skies IV.
The exercise concluded on Thursday and saw 12 Squadron operate with integrated QEAF personnel as a joint squadron in Qatar for the first time, completing over 60 successful missions.
The Typhoon FGR4 was flown in both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions, integrating with Qatari Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the ground simulating Close Air Support, as well as flying challenging dogfighting scenarios alongside and against Qatari Rafales and Mirage 2000-5s.
Qatar has ordered 24 Typhoons, 9 fast-jet Hawk trainers, and a package of support and training for its pilots and technicians worth £6 billion. This deal sustains thousands of jobs in the UK at BAE’s Warton facility in Lancashire, securing work on the production line into the next decade.
The first of Qatar’s Typhoons are on schedule to be ready for 2022, and the Qatari pilots who form an integral role on 12 Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby, are likely to be amongst the first to fly them as part of the country’s new Typhoon squadron.
“Returning to Qatar to fly the Typhoon for the first time as a joint squadron has been an exceptionally proud moment.
“We have achieved so much together over the last two weeks, sharing our thoughts and ideas on the ground to develop our tactics and skills in the air. I am very excited to return to the UK where we will soon be welcoming new Qatari Typhoon pilots and technicians onto 12 Squadron.”
Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Al-Ghanim
Deputy Officer Commanding 12 Squadron
Pilots, engineers, and technicians from the QEAF are already receiving world-class instruction from the Royal Air Force training system. The first Typhoon technicians are set to graduate from the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering at RAF Cosford in 2021, joining their RAF counterparts on the joint squadron. They will work alongside their RAF counterparts to maintain the avionics, airframe, and weapons on the Typhoon.
“This year’s Exercise Epic Skies has marked the coming of age for our joint squadron and a real step change in terms of the tactics we have been able to employ in a wide range of training scenarios.
“As ever, the hospitality we have received from the QEAF has been exceptional. After a very warm welcome, our RAF and Qatari team has made significant progress advancing their joint tactics and training.
“I’d particularly like to thank the deployed engineering, medical, and logistics teams from 12 Squadron and across the RAF whose hard work made our success in the air possible. We are all excited to welcome the new intake of Qatari technicians and the next batch of pilots to the Squadron at RAF Coningsby!”
Wing Commander Chris Wright
Officer Commanding 12 Squadron