RAF-Qatari Squadron Flies More Than 60 Missions During Qatar Exercise

It is the first time 12 Squadron has integrated with Qatar Emiri Air Force personnel as a joint squadron in Qatar.

Six Typhoon jets flown by the Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) have completed 60 successful missions while taking part in an exercise in Qatar.

12 Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby, Lincoln, have been a regular sight above Doha over the last two weeks as part of Exercise Epic Skies IV.

The exercise finished on 10 December and saw the squadron operate with integrated QEAF personnel as a joint squadron in Qatar for the first time.

Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Al-Ghanim, Deputy Officer Commanding 12 Squadron, said: "Returning to Qatar to fly the Typhoon for the first time as a joint squadron has been an exceptionally proud moment.

"We have achieved so much together over the last two weeks, sharing our thoughts and ideas on the ground to develop our tactics and skills in the air."

The exercise saw Typhoons fly in both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions, integrating with Qatari Joint Terminal Attack Controllers on the ground, simulating Close Air Support.

They also took part in challenging dogfighting scenarios alongside and against Qatari Rafales and Mirage 2000-5s.

The exercise saw 12 Squadron complete both air-to-air and air-to-surface missions in the Typhoon jets (Picture: MOD).

Wing Commander Chris Wright, Officer Commanding 12 Squadron, said the squadron made “significant progress advancing their joint tactics and training” during the exercise.

"This year’s Exercise Epic Skies has marked the coming of age for our joint squadron and a real step change in terms of the tactics we have been able to employ in a wide range of training scenarios," he said.

In 2018, Qatar agreed to buy 24 Typhoons, nine fast-jet Hawk trainers, as well as a training and support package for its pilots and technicians, in a multi-billion-pound deal.

12 Squadron began flying for the first time in June this year.

Pilots, engineers, and technicians from the QEAF are already receiving instruction from the RAF training system, and the first of Qatar’s Typhoons are on schedule to be ready for 2022.

Qatari pilots belonging to 12 Squadron are likely to be among the first to fly them, as part of the country’s new Typhoon Squadron.

Additionally, the first Typhoon technicians are set to graduate from the Defence School of Aeronautical Engineering at Shropshire's RAF Cosford in 2021.

They will join their RAF counterparts on the joint squadron to maintain the avionics, airframe, and weapons on the Typhoons.

Cover image: 12 Squadron Typhoons at Doha Airbase as part of Exercise Epic Skies IV (Picture: MOD).