British Typhoons have arrived in Qatar ahead of the joint UK/Qatari exercise, ‘EPIC SKIES II’.
The jets were flown into Al Udeid from another exercise in the middle east, and landed in formation led by Wing Commander Jim Lee, Officer Commanding II (Army Cooperation) Squadron, who was greeted by Wing Commander Mark Baker, Officer Commanding 1 (F) Squadron, and the Exercise Commander from the QEAF, Lieutenant Colonel Faisal Al-Ghanim, say the RAF in a statement.
In July 2018, UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“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.”
Wing Commander Mark Baker said:
“It’s a tremendous honour to take part in this exercise, especially at a time when our two nations are becoming closer than ever. The Typhoon aircraft is a hugely capable platform that has served the UK well since its introduction; I’m sure it will continue to serve both the UK and Qatari militaries for years to come.”
Recently, a Qatari Typhoon and Hawk deal kicked into action after a first payment was made. The deal, worth around £5bn includes the aircraft and a bespoke support and training package.
Qatar is now buying nine Hawk trainers, rather than six, which will also be welcome news for BAE Systems’ factories in Warton and Brough which make the jets.
Welcoming the news, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“This monumental, multi-billion-pound deal is now officially in place, and those from across government and industry who have worked so hard on it together can be extremely proud to see it reach this stage. It’s a massive boost to the British defence industry, helping to support thousands of jobs, and it will help us further build the trust between the UK and Qatar to tackle the challenges we both share, support stability in the region and deliver security at home.”
UK Export Finance’s £5bn package of support was vital to securing the deal, including by providing financing and insurance. UKEF’s role is to support UK exports including by providing export finance to enable overseas buyers to purchase goods and services from the UK, and export insurance for companies selling overseas.
International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:
“The UK Government is proud to be a part of this hugely significant export contract, supporting BAE Systems, its nearly 35,000 employees and the 9,000 companies in its supply chain.
This support from UK Export Finance will sustain jobs in one of the UK’s key industrial sectors, support economic growth, and strengthen our own defence capabilities as well as those of a key strategic ally.”
BAE Systems Chief Executive, Charles Woodburn said:
“This contract, effective today, represents a significant step in BAE Systems’ long-term relationship with the State of Qatar, as it becomes the ninth country to choose Typhoon. The proven combination of Typhoon and Hawk will provide the Qatari Armed Forces with the most advanced and flexible multi-role combat aircraft on the market today, along with best in class support and training.”