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Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF)

Issue 98

As the air arm of the Qatar Armed Forces, the Qatari Emiri Air Force was formed in 1974, three years after achieving independence from Great Britain in September 1971.

Personnel: Over 2.500

Main Air Bases: Al-Udeid Air Base and Doha International Air Base (also known as Camp Snoopy, was a former US military installation located at the Doha International Airport) in Doha. In August 2018, Qatar announced the construction of a new air base near Dukhan. Named after Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al-THANI, the Dukhan/Tamim Air Base is the country's third and newest air base. The Dukhan/Tamim Air Base received five of the Qatari Emiri Air Force’s order of 36 Dassault Rafale fighter jets in June 2019, though it was not completely operational at the time. As of February 26, 2020 Qatar, Emiri Air Force took the delivery of 23 Rafale fighter jets from France.

Al-Udeid Air Base

3rd Rotary Wing 

20th Squadron – 39 x AW139

Transport Wing 

Transport Squadron – 8 x C-17 Globemaster and 4 x C-130J-30

Al Zaeem Mohamed Bin Abdullah Al-ATTIYAH Air College - 8 x MFI-395 Super Mushshak, 24 x Pilatus PC-21, 14 x SA342 Gazelle (to be replaced with 16 x H125)

Doha International Air Base 

1st Fighter Wing 

7th Air Superiority Squadron – 9 x Mirage 2000-5EDA, 3 x Mirage 2000-5DDA

11th Close Support Squadron – 6 x Alpha Jet

2nd Rotary Wing 

6th Close Support Squadron – 24 x AH-64E (the first of 24 helicopters for the Qatari Emiri Air Force was handed over during a formal delivery ceremony at Boeing’s Mesa production plant in Arizona on March 14, 2019. Deliveries are scheduled to be completed by the end of May 2020)

8th Anti Surface Vessel Squadron – 8 x Westland Commando Mk.3/Sea King (wired for AM-39 Exocet ASM and to be replaced with 12 x NH90 in naval [NFH] variant)

9th Multi-Role Squadron – 1 x S-92 VVIP and 4 x Westland Commando Mk 2 (to be replaced with 16 x NH90 in tactical transport [TTH] variant)

Dukhan/Tamim Air Base 

U/I Fighter Wing 

Al Adiyat Fighter Squadron – 23 x Rafale (deliveries being completed and will eventually reach to 36)

Equipment:

Combat: 6 x Alpha Jets, 9 x Mirage 2000-5EDA/DDAs, 36 x Rafales (deliveries ongoing), 36 x F-15QAs (on order) and 24 x Eurofighter Typhoons (on order)  

Training: 24 x L-39 and L-29 (in store), 10 x MFI-395 Super Mushshak (on order and under delivery process)

Transport: 8 x C-17 Globemaster and 4 x C-130J-30

Tanker Aircraft: In early 2014 Airbus Defense and Space had been selected by Qatar to supply two A330 MRTT (KC-30) new generation air-to-air refuelling aircraft for the Qatari Emiri Air Force  

Helicopters: 24 x AH-64E, 39 x AW139, 8 x Westland Commando Mk.3/Sea King, 1 x S-92 VVIP, 4 x Westland Commando Mk 2 and 14 x SA342 Gazelle

UAVs: 3 x BAYRAKTAR TB2-S Armed UAV Systems with six aircraft, FLIR payloads, 3 x Ground Control Stations and a UAV Training Simulator are in the service of QEAF Reconnaissance and Surveillance Centre Command

SAMs: 1 x Rapier Battery with 18 x launchers and 250 missiles, 9 x Roland 2 (3 self-propelled Roland 2 systems on the AMX-30R chassis and 6 shelter-mounted) and 1 MIM-23B I-HAWK Battery and NASAMS/SL-AMRAAM.

Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Systems: In order to enhance its missile defense capability against Iran’s missile arsenal Qatar has purchased various BMD systems during last decade. In 2012, Qatar purchased 10 x Patriot Configuration 3 (PAC-3) Firing Units (with 40 launchers) and missiles at an estimated value of nearly US$10 Billion. Also that year, the US agreed to sell 2 x Terminal High Altitude Area Air Defense (THAAD) System Firing Units (with 12 launchers and 150 missiles), the most sophisticated ground-based missile defense system the US had made available for sale, but Qatari budgetary and operational concerns have delayed or derailed that purchase. In February 2017, Raytheon concluded an agreement to sell Qatar an early warning radar system to improve the capabilities of its existing missile defense systems, with an estimated value of US$1.1 Billion. In December 2017, the US Defense Department awarded Raytheon a US$150 Million contract to provide Qatar with services and support for its PAC-3 System, and the Ministry of Defense of Qatar has committed to acquire additional Patriot systems, with an estimated value of about US$2 Billion. 

NB: In March 2018 during tbe DIMDEX 2018 Fair, Qatar signed a contract for the purchase of 28 NH90 military helicopters. The agreement includes 16 x NH90s in tactical transport (TTH) configuration and 12 x NH90s in naval (NFH) configuration. As part of its ongoing military helicopter fleet modernization plan, Qatar will also receive 16 x H125 light single-engine helicopters in training configuration for operation by the Al Zaeem Mohamed Bin Abdullah Al-ATTIYAH Air College. In April 2018 it was reported that the Ministry of Defense of Qatar signed a US$2.5 Billion contract with Qatar for the delivery of National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAM) to Qatar. On November 27, 2018, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a State Department approval of a commercial sale by Raytheon of 40 x AIM 120C-7 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAM) missiles, 8 x AMRAAM Captive Air Training Missile (CATM-120C), 1 x spare AMRAAM guidance section, 1 x spare control section and missile containers along with classified software for the Raytheon-made AN/MPQ-64F1 Sentinel Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) radar, spare and repair parts, cryptographic and communication security devices, precision navigation equipment, training, and other related program support at an estimated value of US$215 Million. On December 18, 2018 single SL-AMRAAM launcher (fitted with AIM-120B missile mock-ups) on Humvee tactical vehicle took part during the National Day Parade of Qatar Armed Forces, held in Doha, Qatar. On July 10, 2019, Raytheon announced that Qatar would be the first country to purchases its Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile - Extended Range (AMRAAM-ER) weapon. In May 2019 the US State Department approved the sale of 24 x AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters to Qatar at an estimated cost of US$3 Billion. The proposed sale will supplement the QEAF’s previous procurement of 24 x AH-64Es. Qatar signed a contract for 24 x AH-64E aircraft in June 2016 and the ongoing deliveries will be completed by the end of May 2020.