The joint British-Qatari Typhoon training unit, No 12 Squadron, is to continue operating in its current guise at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire, for another two years following the extension of the current contract.
The agreement was signed at the UK Ministry of Defence in London by the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Commander, Maj Gen Jassim Al-Mannai, and Deputy Commander Capability, AM Sir Richard Knighton for the RAF. AM Sir Richard Knighton said: "I am delighted this extension agreement has been signed. Qatar is an important regional partner, and we in the Royal Air Force look forward to continuing to develop this close partnership to benefit both Air Forces and nations. This partnership makes an important contribution to promoting peace and stability in the region.
The penning of this agreement comes on the back of the unit returning from a six-month deployment to the Gulf nation, which was also the longest-ever continuous Typhoon FGR4 deployment. This successfully concluded the first phase of the joint squadron: to build the QEAF's operational experience on Typhoon in time for the arrival of their aircraft.
During the deployment in Qatar, No 12 Squadron supported the formation of the first QEAF Typhoon squadron, No 7 Squadron, at the brand-new Tamim Air Base in Dukhan, and the integration of Qatar's first Typhoon aircraft. By November 2022, No 7 Squadron had been established and QEAF-operated Typhoons took to the skies alongside No 12 Squadron to provide air security for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Both nations share a mutual interest in the stability in the Middle East, and this bilateral agreement enables this to continue and boosts both nations' ability to tackle shared security challenges, contributing to regional peace and protecting the prosperity and security of the UK.