Pilots from the Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) will fly Typhoons together for the first time as a joint squadron in Qatar.

According to the Royal Air Force, No.12 Squadron is “a unique initiative between the UK and Qatar” and will “provide the QEAF with valuable experience operating the Typhoon” as they prepare to receive their first aircraft.

The Government of Qatar have ordered 24 Typhoons as part of a £6 billion deal, which also includes 9 Hawk  jet trainers and a bespoke support and training package. You can read more about that here.

More than 130 personnel from the Royal Air Force have deployed to Qatar to support the two-week Exercise Epic Skies which will see Qatari pilots and engineers fly and maintain the Typhoon alongside their RAF colleagues.

Image Cpl Babbs Robinson, RAF.

According to the Ministry of Defence:

“Pilots from the joint squadron will be challenged in a range of air to air, and air to surface  scenarios which will put their training to the test. Qatari pilots, engineers, and technicians are  completing world-class training at a number of RAF establishments prior to joining 12 Squadron, where they  will develop their technical skills and build their experience on the Typhoon.”

Image shown is from Exercise Epic Skies IV. Which started Sunday 29th November, with the first wave of Typhoons taking off from Doha Air Base. 12 Squadron are the RAF’s first joint squadron since World War II, with pilots and engineers from the Qatar Emiri Air Force embedded within its ranks.

12 Squadron reformed in 2018 as the RAF’s first joint squadron since the Second World War.

Qatari pilots and groundcrew have been learning how to fly and maintain the Typhoon at RAF Coningsby since June 2020, with RAF personnel providing training both in the air and on the ground.  

Wing Commander Chris Wright, Officer Commanding 12 Squadron, said:

“It has been fantastic to return to Qatar this year and receive such a warm welcome from so many familiar faces. Considerable progress has been made since last year’s Epic Skies, with many pilots and engineers  from the Qatar Emiri Air Force thoroughly embedded into 12 Squadron. The first of the Qatari pilots  to begin flying the Typhoon are eager to put their new skills and training to the test, flying alongside their colleagues in a series of challenging scenarios on home turf.”

Lt Col Faisal Al-Ghanim, Deputy Officer Commanding 12 Squadron, said:

“This year’s Epic Skies is particularly unique. I’ve been involved in several of these exercises in the  past, but this year is the first time I return home to fly the Typhoon alongside my RAF and Qatari  colleagues, wearing the 12 Squadron crest. We joined the Squadron earlier this year to a very warm welcome, quickly integrating into day to day  life and operations. Returning to fly from Qatar at a familiar air base is an absolute privilege, and I  look forward to the challenges the exercise brings to our joint squadron.” 

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Captain P Wash

I want to be the first to comment.


Making up for lost time ey Cap?
Good to read about some other Typhoon operators though.
Evening all
[email protected]

Captain P Wash

Ha, Yup ! It’s nice to be back.

john melling

Did you forget the rest of your comment

haha 😂


I am officially 6th to comment.
An amazing aircraft is the Typhoon up there in my personal all time favourites list with the EE Lightning and still with plenty of development potential. When you consider that the F16 is still in production close to half a Century after it first flew then surely this highly capable aircraft could follow suit. A top up order for the RAF would be a nice follow up to the Qatari and German order.

Captain P Wash

Yes, i’m with you on this, would love to see a Lightning go head to head in a race to 60000 ft !


I think the EE Lightning still holds the record for the fastest accelerating jet. However, during test flights, I think the TSR2 pulled away from the EE Lightning chase plane which could not keep up it in horizontal flight, and it was using only one of its afterburners. .Ah what could have been…

Captain P Wash

Yes, I recall that ……

Alan Reid

Hi AlbertStarburst ….. Yes, I recall that story, too. Although I think it was at low-level where the Lightning’s big-wing would subject the aircraft to extreme turbulence at high speed.

If accurate, Wikipedia gives a good comparison between the two –


  1. Rate of climb: 15,000 ft/min (76 m/s)
  2. Thrust/weight 0.59

Rate of climb: 20,000 ft/min (100 m/s) sustained to 30,000 ft Thrust/weight: 0.78 (1.03 empty)

Alan Reid

Thrust/Weight: 0.78 (1.03 empty)

So looks like the Lightning is the winner on paper!

An aircraft often overlooked is the much maligned Tornado F3 – it had the reputation of being a rapidly-accelerating interceptor at low altitude. Not much could out-run the F3 down in the weeds!


A bit off topic – TSR3?
I wonder what it would be like to basically base an airframe around a pair of Concore’s RR Olympus 593s complete with mounting/duct that is capable of Mach 2.0 in super-cruise. A big fuel tank, low-altitude wing, and lots of sensors and a big bomb-bay. Sort of a TSR3 without re-inventing the wheel or costing too much.

Bet it would go like greased weasel do-dah.

Paul T

On a Similar Note i wonder what a Vulcan with 4 x RB199 or EJ200 Engines would be Capable of,not so much for Speed but Range and Reliability.The Vulcan in its Day wasn’t the Easiest of Aircraft to Spot on Radar Either.


Yep. I don’t see why we have to re-invent the wheel each time. If the UK were minded I suspect relatively cheap, home-grown aircraft industry could be developed, that did a basic job.


Imagine a cheap TSR3 and Vulcan-II.
TSR3 for long range tactical stuff.
Vulcan-II for long range strategic stuff.
Slap lots of radar absorbent paint on the things (make sure all the crew have ejector seats this time) and suddenly the UK looks dangerous and keeps loads of industry and skilled bods off the unemployment list.

Jason Holmes

Lightning was recorded at 50k ft/min i read, the Typhoon at 63k ft/min

Captain P Wash

Yes, I was watching an interview somewhere, A pilot was comparing both and said the Typhoon was a ballistic Missile.


so when does 12 sqn finish its qatari tasking and revert to regular RAF frontline squadron?


Not sure but as they’ve only just got going i think it’ll be a good few years yet. There was talk recently of a joint training squadron also being formed as Qatar are also buying some Hawks. Don’t think i imagined that the RAF were hoping to squeeze an 8th Typhoon squadron out of the fleet a couple of years back given that of the currently active units 12 squadron is a joint set-up and 9 squadron is now acting in the aggressor role. Guessing money/manpower scuppered it. Speaking of the latter does 100 squadron have a future as an… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

does 100 squadron have a future as an aggressor unit with it’s Hawks now that there are Typhoon’s doing a similar job?

I have wondered on that too. 100 Sqn support the JFAC training, a role I guess more suited to a Hawk than a high performance Typhoon?

I also read of a joint Qatar/RAF AAR squadron.

Alan Reid

Pondered that one myself folks ……. To get most training value from the Aggressor role, surely you’d want some aircraft that had dissimilar flight characteristics from the rest of the combat-jet fleet? In that vein, although long in the tooth, maybe the Hawk still has some Aggressor value in the visual range, low-altitude manoeuvring regime?

Daniele Mandelli

Maybe why it is used for JFAC and simulating strikes on ships with FOST.


Yes I suppose Hawk’s are still fine for simulated ship attacks and basically anything that requires decent maneuvering rather than brute speed. Imagine the aggressor Typhoon’s are only used for the high-end dog-fighting stuff.

Would be nice to see the aggressor, Red Arrow and residual training air-frames all replaced by additional Hawk T2’s. Synergy with the existing T2 fleet and support makes sense, but i imagine even the most up to date version BAE could offer will be pretty out of date by the time we get round to it.