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Qatari Hawks may be based in UK

The United Kingdom has offered Qatar a base for the Hawk advanced jet trainers it has ordered, the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 14 October.

A Qatari with British pilots at RAF Coningsby. (Crown Copyright)

A Qatari with British pilots at RAF Coningsby. (Crown Copyright)

The announcement was made after Qatari Minister of State for Defence Dr Khalid bin Mohammmad al-Attiyah visited Royal Air Force (RAF) Coningsby in England to open a new headquarters building for 12 Squadron, a joint Qatari-British unit that flies Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

“The two defence ministers signed a statement of intent setting out how the UK will offer a British base for the Qatari Emiri Air Force’s (QEAF) recently acquired nine Hawk aircraft,” the MoD said. “The QEAF’s latest acquisition opens doors for a potential new UK-Qatari Hawk squadron.”

It added that the basing of the Hawks in the UK will provide “the RAF with access to increased flying hours, giving the QEAF access to world-class RAF accredited training, and delivering long-term investment in infrastructure and training facilities to the RAF”.

When the Hawk deal was announced in July 2018, the MoD said deliveries would begin in 2021, with the first of the QEAF’s 24 Eurofighter Typhoons being delivered the following year.

The joint 12 Squadron was also officially stood up at RAF Coningsby that month, although did not start flying until June this year.

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