Qatar Air Force

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Qatar Air Force
Qatar Air Force emblem.svg
Qatar Air Force emblem
Founded 1974-present
Country Qatar
Engagements Libyan Civil War
2015 military intervention in Yemen
Brigadier General Mubarak Mohammed Al Kumait Al Khayarin
Roundel Roundel of Qatar.svg
Ensign Air Force Ensign of Qatar.svg
Aircraft flown
Fighter Mirage 2000
Helicopter Aérospatiale Gazelle, Westland Sea King, AgustaWestland AW139
Trainer Alpha Jet, Piper Cherokee, Piper PA-34 Seneca
Transport Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Dassault Falcon 900

The Qatar Emiri Air Force is the air arm of the armed forces of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar.


In March 1968, in response to the British announcement that it would withdraw its armed forces from the Persian Gulf, Qatar set up armed forces, creating the Qatar Public Security Forces Air Wing, equipped with two Westland Whirlwind helicopters. In 1971, it acquired a combat capability when it purchased three ex-RAF Hawker Hunter jet fighters, which remained in use until 1981. It was renamed the Qatar Emiri Air Force in 1974.[1]

The air force began a major expansion in 1979, when it ordered six Alpha Jet trainer/light attack aircraft. This was followed by orders for 14 Mirage F1 supersonic jet fighters in 1980, which were delivered between 1980-84. Twelve Gazelle helicopters, armed with HOT anti-tank missiles were received from 1983. Also in 1983, the air force took over the Qatar Police Air Wing.[2]

In 1991, the Qatari Air Force contributed aircraft to conduct strikes against Iraqi forces during the Gulf War. After the conflict the government sought to fortify their air defense with the construction of a new base southwest of the Doha at Al Udaid. The facility has hardened aircraft shelters, air defence radars and Roland missile batteries. In the 1990s, they acquired more Alpha Jets with a ground attack capability and a squadron of Mirage F1s, from France.[citation needed]

In 2005, the Air Force participated in Exercise Eagle Resolve, along with Medical Services and Emergency Medical teams to build Interoperability with their US counterparts. The U.S. 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in exercise to validate the nation’s crisis management plan prior to hosting the Asian Games in 2006.

Other acquisitions have been for an order of 18 AW139 helicopters.[3] The helicopters are used for utility tasks, troop transport, search and rescue, border patrol, special forces operations, and law enforcement. Three additional aircraft were ordered in March 2011 for Medivac services.[4] By 2010, the Qatar Emiri Air Force's personnel strength was at 2100 and among its fleet of equipment was the Mirage 2000-3EDA, the SA 342L Gazelle, as well as the C-17A Globemaster III. Aircraft either fly out of al-Udeid field or Doha International Airport and receive training from British instructors. In January 2011, the Air Force evaluated the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Boeing F-15E and the Dassault Rafale to replace its current fighter inventory of Dassault Mirage 2000-5s.[5] In May 2015, the Air Force awarded the contract for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters worth €6.3 billion ($7 billion).[6][7]

In July 2012, it was announced that the Qatar Air Force had placed an order for a complete pilot training system from Pilatus centering upon the PC-21. The package included ground-based training devices, logistical support and maintenance in addition to 24 PC-21 aircraft.

In June 2015, it was announced that four additional C-17s were ordered to supplement the existing four delivered in 2009 and 2012.

In September 2016 it was announced that the sale of up to 72 F-15QA has been submitted to the US Congress for approval.[8][9] Deal for 24 planes plus option for 12 more valued at USD21.1 billion was signed off on November 2016.[10]


  • Al Udeid Air Base[11]
    • Transport Wing
      • Transport Squadron - 8 C-17 Globemaster, 4 C-130J-30
  • Doha International Air Base
    • 1st Fighter Wing
      • 7th Air Superiority Squadron – 9 Mirage 2000-5EDA, 3 Mirage 2000-5DDA
      • 11th Close Support Squadron – 6 Alpha Jet
    • 2nd Rotary Wing
      • 6th Close Support Squadron – 14 SA342 Gazelle
      • 8th Anti-Surface Vessel Squadron – Westland Sea King
      • 9th Multi-Role Squadron – Westland Commando Mk 2
    • 3rd Rotary Wing
      • 20th Squadron – 18 AW139


A Qatari Mirage 2000-5 participating in Operation Odyssey Dawn
A Sea King conducts a counter-terrorism exercise
A C-17 on take off

Current inventory[edit]

Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Alpha Jet France / Germany light attack 6[12]
Mirage 2000 France multirole 5EDA 9[12]
Dassault Rafale France multirole C 18 on order[12]
Boeing C-17 United States heavy transport 4[12] one aircraft operated with the Qatar Amiri Flight
C-130J United States utility transport C-130J-30 4[12]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy utility 19[12]
SA342 Gazelle France armed scout 13[12]
Westland Sea King United Kingdom ASW / utility Mk.3 11[12]
NH-90 European Union utility / transport 22 on order[12]
AH-64 Apache United States attack AH-64E 24 on order[12]
Trainer Aircraft
Mirage 2000 France conversion trainer 5DDA 4[12]
Pilatus PC-21 Switzerland primary trainer 24[12]
Dassault Rafale France conversion trainer B 6 on order[12]


Previous notable aircraft operated by the Air Force consisted of the Hawker Hunter, Dassault Mirage F1, Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Westland Whirlwind, Britten-Norman Islander, and the Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma helicopter.[13]


  1. ^ Air International September 1988, p. 136.
  2. ^ Air International September 1988, pp. 136, 139.
  3. ^ Qatar Armed Forces Sign Contract for 18 AW139 Helicopters – ASDNews. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
  4. ^ "The Qatar Armed Forces Order Three EMS-Configured AW139s" Archived May 5, 2014, on Wayback Machine. Agusta Westland 21 March 2011
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF)". Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "U.S. set to approve sales of Boeing fighters to Qatar, Kuwait - sources". Reuters. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "Fighter Jet Sales to Gulf Allies Backed by U.S. After a Wait". Bloomberg. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "Qatar and Kuwait fighter deals signed off". Combat Aircraft. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "World Air Forces 2017 pg. 12". Flightglobal Insight. 2017. Retrieved 10 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "World Air Forces 1985 pg. 76". Retrieved 4 May 2015.