Qatar Air Force

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Qatar Air Force
Qatar Air Force emblem.svg
Qatar Air Force emblem
Founded 1974-present
Country Qatar
Garrison/HQ Doha International Airport
Engagements Libyan Civil War
2015 military intervention in Yemen
Commanders
Current
commander
Brigadier General Mubarak Mohammed Al Kumait Al Khayarin
Insignia
Roundel Roundel of Qatar.svg
Ensign Qatar Air Force flag.svg
Aircraft flown
Helicopter Aérospatiale Gazelle, Westland Sea King, AgustaWestland AW139
Interceptor Dassault Mirage 2000
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 (QEAF) is the aerial branch of the Qatar Armed Forces. It was formed in 1974, three years after achieving independence from Great Britain in 1971. The airforce had 2,100 personnel in 2006. Al Udeid Air Base and Doha International Airport serve as the main site of operations for its squadrons.[1]

History[edit]

Initially equipped with ex-RAF Hawker Hunters, the air force soon began expansion with six Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets in 1979. Fourteen F1 Mirages were delivered between 1980-84. 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. 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] In May 2015, the Air Force awarded Dassault Aviation the deal for 24 Rafale fighters worth €6.3 billion ($7 billion).[5][6]

In Jun 2015 it was announced that 4 additional C-17 Transport Aircraft were ordered to supplement the existing 4 aircraft delivered in 2009 & 2012.

Units[edit]

  • No. 1 Fighter Wing
  • 9 single-seat Mirage 2000-5EDA
  • 3 2000-5DDA trainers
  • No. 2 Rotary Wing

As of January 1993, all the air force's aircraft were based at Doha International Airport.[7]

Aircraft[edit]

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[8]
Mirage 2000  France multirole 5EDA 9[8]
Dassault Rafale  France multirole 24 on order[9]
Transport
C-17  United States heavy transport 4[8] one aircraft operated with the Qatar Amiri Flight
C-130J  United States utility transport C-130J-30 4[8]
Helicopters
AW139  Italy utility 18[8]
Sea King  United Kingdom ASW / utility Mk.3 11[8]
SA342  France transport / utility 14[8]
AH-64  United States attack AH-64E 24 on order[8]
Trainer Aircraft
Mirage 2000  France conversion trainer 5DDA 4[8]
PC-21   Switzerland primary trainer 2[8] 22 on order[8]

Retired[edit]

Pervious 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.[10]

References[edit]