RAF Leeming To Host New UK-Qatar Hawk Training Squadron

The arrival of the new joint squadron means the North Yorkshire base will receive a Hawk jet training simulator.

The air forces of Britain and Qatar have chosen RAF Leeming as the base for a new joint training squadron, following the Middle Eastern country's purchase of nine Hawk jets.

As part of a developing bond between the two air forces, the North Yorkshire base will benefit from refurbishment and host the unit, working with Qatar's Hawk T2 variant fleet.

The formation of a second UK-Qatar joint squadron will provide additional flying hours for RAF pilots, while existing facilities will be upgraded at RAF Leeming and a new training simulator will be installed.

In a £6bn deal with the UK, Qatar will receive 24 Typhoons, nine Hawk T2 training jets and a training package.

The UK's first joint squadron since the Second World War, 12 Squadron is based at RAF Coningsby.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "In the face of new and emerging threats, it is vital we collaborate with our international allies to tackle our shared security challenges and our long-standing relationship with Qatar exemplifies this.

A Hawk T2 jet, similar to those acquired by Qatar (Picture: RAF).

"By working together we continue to share skills and expertise whilst promoting global security and driving prosperity at home.

"I'm delighted RAF Leeming has been chosen to base the historic second UK-Qatari joint squadron, which recognises the globally-held high regard of RAF flying training."

His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs in Qatar, said the joint Hawk training squadron is "an integral component in increasing interoperability and coordination between both air forces, leading to closer cooperation and alignment in future military and peacekeeping efforts".

The updated agreement will also see the RAF Voyager deploy to Qatar to periodically provide air-to-air refuelling training for the Qatari Emiri Air Force's fleet of fast jet aircraft.