Gavin Williamson with Emir of Qatar at standing up ceremony for joint Typhoon Squadron

The UK and Qatar have marked a milestone in defence cooperation with a special standing up ceremony of a Joint Typhoon Squadron.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said Qatar remains a close and important friend to the UK and it is the only nation with which we have a joint squadron.

"Our formidable Typhoon jets will boost the Qatari military’s mission to tackle challenges in the Middle East, supporting stability in the region and delivering security at home."

At the end of 2017 Qatar agreed to buy 24 Typhoon jets from BAE Systems in a deal worth around £5 billion. The contract also includes the supply of nine Hawk T2 aircraft and the RAF's No.12 Squadron will integrate Qatari personnel, including pilots and ground-crew, from 2019.

The personnel will be initially stationed at RAF Coningsby, and then in Qatar. The Joint Squadron aims to have the Qatari Amiri Air Force prepared for the arrival of the first QAAF Typhoon in 2022.

Emir of Qatar at standing up ceremony for joint UK-Qatar Typhoon Squadron
Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani at Joint Typhoon Squadron ceremony

It will be the first time since the Second World War and the Battle of Britain that the RAF has formed a squadron with another nation.