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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Qatar and UK Air Forces conduct two week training in Doha

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Pilots from the UK’s Royal Air Force [RAF] will be operating a multi-role combat aircraft during the training.

More than 130 personnel from No. 12 Squadron of the UK’s RAF have been deployed to Qatar for a two-week joint training program dubbed Exercise Epic Skies.

Pilots from the Qatar Amiri Air Force together with their British counterparts will be flying 6 fast-jet Typhoons, a multi-role combat aircraft, for the first time as a joint squadron.

According to the RAF, Qatari pilots will also be challenged in several air to air, and air to surface simulations which will put their training to the test.

“It has been fantastic to return to Qatar this year and receive such a warm welcome from so many familiar faces. Considerable progress has been made since last year’s Epic Skies, with many pilots and engineers from the Qatar Amiri Air Force thoroughly embedded into 12 Squadron,” said Wing Commander Chris Wright, Officer Commanding 12 Squadron.

Read also: Qatar, UK commit to enhancing defence relationship

The Amiri Air Force and RAF pilots and crew have been learning how to fly and maintain the Typhoon at RAF Coningsby since June 2020.

According to the UK military, Qatar has ordered 24 Typhoons as part of a £6 billion deal, including 9 Hawk jet trainers in addition to a support and training package.

“This year’s Epic Skies is particularly unique. I’ve been involved in several of these exercises in the past, but this year is the first time I return home to fly the Typhoon alongside my RAF and Qatari colleagues, wearing the 12 Squadron crest,” said Lt Col Faisal Al-Ghanim, Deputy Officer Commanding 12 Squadron

Formed in 2018, the 12 Squadron was the RAF’s first joint squadron since the Second World War.

In October, Dr. Khalid al-Attiyah, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence, and the UK’s Minister of Defence Ben Wallace participated in the opening of the 12 Squadron’s new headquarters, which will allow pilots and aircrews from both air forces to train together in state-of-the-art facilities.

During the visit, both ministers signed a statement of intent setting out how the UK will offer a British base for the Qatari Emiri Air Force’s (QEAF) recently acquired Hawk aircrafts.

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