Typhoons from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire will support counter-terrorism efforts as part of the UK’s commitment to helping Qatar deliver a ‘safe and secure’ FIFA World Cup 2022.
The Ministry of Defence will support Qatar will military capabilities to counter terrorism and other threats to the tournament. This will include maritime security support from the Royal Navy, advanced venue search training, operational planning and command and support control, and further specialist advice.
The Joint Typhoon Squadron, also known as 12 Squadron, is based at RAF Coningsby and is operated by RAF and QEAF personnel. During the deployment they will support counter-terrorism efforts through air security operations.
Since their formation as a joint squadron in June 2020, 12 Squadron have exercised regularly in Qatar and the World Cup deployment coincides with a pre-planned deployment.
Defence cooperation with Qatar has been long standing. Qatar remains the only partner with whom the RAF operates joint squadrons – 11 Squadron Qatari Emiri Air Force, the Joint Hawk Training Squadron at RAF Leeming, and 12 Squadron, the Joint Typhoon Squadron at RAF Coningsby.
The partnerships aim to provide RAF personnel with access to increased aircraft flying hours, give the Qatari Emiri Air Force access to RAF accredited training, and see long-term investment in RAF infrastructure and training facilities.
The announcement by the UK government coincides with last week’s visit by the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani to the UK, where he met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Making sure citizens from across the world can enjoy attending the World Cup, Britain and Qatar will join forces to provide air policing in the skies above the tournament.
“I am delighted that our joint squadron with the Qatari Emiri Air Force of Typhoons will patrol the airspace during the tournament.”
The Qatari Emiri Air Force is overseeing air security for the World Cup, delivering the majority of operations. The UK’s contribution will add expertise and capability, in part gained through the UK’s Olympic experience in 2012.