Three RAF Typhoons have flown in the Qatar National Day fly past over Doha today alongside aircraft from the Qatar Emiri Air Force, celebrating 50 years of official diplomatic relations between the UK and Qatar.
The celebrations in the nation’s capital conclude a busy exercise season in Qatar for the RAF, in which two joint RAF and Qatar Emiri Air Force exercises have taken place since late November.
12 Squadron, the joint RAF-Qatar Emiri Air Force Typhoon Squadron, has been participating in Exercise Fox Defender in Doha since 28th November, alongside the Qatar Emiri Air Force Rafale and Mirage Squadrons. More than 120 personnel deployed to Qatar, with pilots and ground-crew from both nations working together in a range of air-to-air and ground-to-air training serials. The exercise enhances the Qatar Emiri Air Force's operational capability ahead of receiving its own Typhoon aircraft in 2022.
"Exercise FOX DEFENDER has allowed everyone who has deployed as part of, and in support of, the Joint Squadron to focus more closely on the challenges that lie ahead for our deployment here next year, while also allowing us to hone our skills, and those of the wider Qatari and UK Armed Forces, in fantastic weather conditions that would certainly not be available in the UK at this time of year!"
Wing Commander Wright
RAF Officer Commanding 12 Squadron
A major RAF-Qatar Emiri Air Force air-to-air refuelling exercise has also taken place in Qatar: from 1st December an RAF Voyager has trained alongside 12 Squadron and Qatar Emiri Air Force fast jets as part of Exercise SOARING FALCON. The exercise is the first deployment of the new Qatar air-to air refuelling Service, an agreement between the UK and Qatar for occasional, short deployments to Qatar. The Voyager deployments will provide a valuable training opportunity for both air forces; enhancing their interoperability with other nations.
"Another success after hard work during the last quarter of 2021; the Joint Squadron finishes its bilateral exercise with the Qatar Emiri Air Force after two weeks of working alongside our colleagues from Number 1 and 6 Flight Wing. After the fly past for Qatar National Day we go back to the United Kingdom, where some of the Squadron's crew is currently undergoing operational training."
Lieutenant Colonel Al-Ghanim
Qatar Emiri Air Force Officer Commanding 12 Squadron
Qatar and the UK share mutual interests in ensuring stability in the Middle East. Joint operational training on the FOX DEFENDER AND SOARING FALCON exercises boosts Qatar's ability to tackle mutual security challenges, which helps protect the prosperity and security of both nations.
"The arrival of the Voyager to the Middle East caps a busy 2021 exercise programme that has clearly demonstrated the UK’s commitment to both our Qatari partners and the wider region; in doing so ensuring its continued stability."
Air Commodore Farrell
Air Component Commander