Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin has revealed that a new Typhoon squadron will be No. 12 squadron, and that it will temporarily integrate Qatari personnel, including pilots and ground-crew based at RAF Coningsby, Lincolnshire.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:
“QATAR proudly becomes the ninth nation to buy the world’s leading multi-role combat aircraft.
The formation of a joint squadron means our RAF will take the lead in providing training and support to the Qatari Emiri Air Force as it brings the Typhoon into service.”
The Qataris will not be a permanent part of the squadron say the MoD, but will be integrated ahead of the delivery of the Typhoon aircraft. The move will provide the country with valuable joint frontline experience on an RAF Typhoon Squadron and speed up their preparation for when their own jets are delivered.
The government had earlier announced that the life of the Typhoon is to be extended into 2040 and that two additional squadrons will be created, giving a total of 7 front-line squadrons.
“We will be extending the life of our multirole Typhoon for 10 extra years through to 2040, meaning we will be able to create 2 additional squadrons. This will give us a total of 7 frontline squadrons, consisting of around 12 aircraft per squadron.”
There will now be eight front-line squadrons. The additional eighth squadron will be formed with air frames taken from the other seven. It’s understood that increased availability will allow squadrons to downsize and provide the aircraft for the eighth squadron while still allowing the same number to fly.
It is understood that this move was made possible by the TyTAN contract, Typhoon Total Availability eNterprise service.
The contract which replaces the previously contracted Typhoon Availability Service, PC4, PC5, RDSS and Contract 1 contracts sees BAE Systems entering into a 10 year partnership with the Ministry of Defence to transform support to the UK Typhoon fleet.
Accordingto the RAF, BAE Systems will work in partnership with the Royal Air Force and the MoD and will jointly “transform the way they work” to further reduce the costs of operating the fleet at RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth by more than a third.
The three currently unmanned squadrons are expected to stand up in the 2018-2023 period.