The single-seat fighter – serial QA404/ZR505 (MS001) – is the first of 24 Typhoons on order for Qatar, comprising 20 single-seat and four two-seat aircraft. The event was hosted by Cliff Robson, Managing Director Air at BAE Systems Group and held under the patronage of Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence. Maj Gen Jassim Mohammed Ahmed Al Mannai, commander of the QEAF, was also present at the ceremony.
Commenting on the handover, Ben Wallace – UK Secretary of State for Defence – said: “Today’s Typhoon delivery is another exciting milestone for our joint UK-Qatar collaboration, which will see the sharing of training and expertise between our respective air forces and will ensure both our nations stay at the forefront of defence capability. This joint project underlines how much Britain values its Middle East partnerships.”
This event marks a major milestone in the programme that followed a contract for the acquisition of the 24 Typhoon multi-role fighters and nine Hawk advanced jet trainer aircraft, complete with a six-year availability support service, which was signed between the Qatari government and BAE Systems on December 10, 2017. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Qatari and British governments for the provision of support, including the establishment of joint UK-Qatar Typhoon and Hawk training squadrons to provide QEAF pilot and technician training.
The QEAF’s first Typhoons are due to be ferried from the UK to Qatar before the end of August. This will enable them to provide critical air support for the upcoming FIFA World Cup, which is being held this year in Qatar and begins on November 21.
Qatar’s first single-seat Typhoon completed its maiden flight from Warton on November 25, 2021, followed by the second – serial QA405/ZR506 (MS002) – on January 12. The third, fourth and fifth examples – serials ZR507 (MS003), ZR508 (MS004) and ZR509 (MS005) – completed their first flights on March 31, May 9 and June 17, respectively. The remainder – serials ZR510 (MS006) to ZR524 (MS020) – have yet to fly, as have the four two-seat examples, which will be serialled ZR501 (MT001) to ZR504 (MT004).
Seven of the nine Hawks that were part of the deal have now also been delivered to the joint UK-Qatar training unit at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire. The final two are now being test flown at Warton, but have yet to be formally delivered.