International News Network
UK-Qatari Typhoon Air Force Squadron begins flying as joint unit
The UK Royal Air Force and Qatar Amiri Air Force Typhoon Squadron, known as No.12 Squadron, have marked an important milestone as they commenced flying as a Joint Squadron. Based at RAF Coningsby, No.12 Squadron is a unique initiative between the UK and Qatar and will provide the Qatar Amiri Air Force with valuable experience operating the Typhoon as they prepare to receive their first aircraft. With deliveries commencing in 2022, the aircraft are part of a GBP5.1 billion deal between BAE Systems and the Government of Qatar.
The flags of both nations were raised at RAF Coningsby this week as Typhoons with new Squadron markings flew for the first time, signaling the Squadrons readiness to train pilots and ground crew from both air forces. UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said, "No.12 Squadron is a testament to our enduring friendship and commitment to Qatar, the only nation with which the UK has a Joint Squadron. Together we are protecting populations and securing our mutual interests across the Middle East."
HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah said, "The first flight of No. 12 Squadron marks an important milestone in the commitment of the Qatari Amiri Air Force and the Royal Air Force to deliver on excellence.
"The raising of the flags of The State of Qatar and the United Kingdom side by side in commemoration of the first joint flight represents the alignment of vision and strategy in building for a stable and prosperous future for both nations and the world."
The UK has a long history of working with international partners in the Armed Forces, with such defense engagement recognized as key to strengthening partnerships and promoting its national interest. However, No. 12 Squadron is the first Joint Squadron in the RAF since the Second World War and the Battle of Britain. The Joint Squadron was established on July 24, 2018, to strengthen cooperation between the British Royal Air Force and the Qatari Amiri Air Force and strengthen the long-term bilateral security and defense relationship between the two countries.