No 12 Squadron: the joint British-Qatari Typhoon training unit

No 12 Squadron – the joint British-Qatari Typhoon training unit – ended 2021 in the Middle East. Jon Lake looks back at the squadron’s recent history and its participation in Exercises Magic Carpet and Fox Defender. 


Qatar’s interest in the Eurofighter Typhoon dates back more than ten years. An evaluation was scheduled for the multi-role fighter in 2011, however, it was delayed due to Qatar’s participation in the United Nations-sponsored operation to protect civilian areas in Libya during the First Libyan Civil War.

Lead Typhoon
Tranche 3 Eurofighters from the Royal Air Force of Oman and No 12 Squadron RAF fly in formation together during Exercise Magic Carpet in 2021.  RAFO

After the war, Qatar reached agreements to buy three different advanced fighter aircraft types – eventually totalling 96 aircraft – negotiating with what it perceived to be the ‘hungriest’ bidder first, in order to extract the best possible terms in subsequent negotiations. Having agreed a deal with France for the supply of the Dassault Rafale, Qatar could use the option of procuring additional Rafales to extract the best possible terms when negotiating for the Boeing F-15QA and later for the Typhoon.


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