The UK has announced that it’s committed to helping Qatar deliver a safe and secure FIFA World Cup 2022. The announcement coincides with this week’s visit by His Highness the Amir of State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to the UK, where he met with the Prime Minister.
The UK Ministry of Defense said it will support Qatar with 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 control support, 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 co-insides with a pre-planned deployment.
UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace MP 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 Amiri Air Force of Typhoons will patrol the airspace during the tournament.”
The statement added that defence cooperation with Qatar has been long standing. Qatar remains the only partner with whom the RAF operates joint squadron 11 Squadron Qatari Amiri 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 Amiri Air Force access to world-class RAF accredited training, and see long-term investment in RAF infrastructure and training facilities.
The Qatar Air Program comprises of a series of contracts between the Qatar Armed Forces (QAF). Qatar’s contract with BAE Systems is for 24 Typhoons, 9 Hawk jet trainers and a bespoke support and training package, alongside a contract with MBDA for an associated weapons package.
The statement stressed that Qatari Amiri Air Force is overseeing air security for the World Cup, delivering the majority of operations. The UKs contribution will add expertise and capability, in part gained through the UKs Olympic experience in 2012. It is a demonstration of our strong defence relationship, and further enhances the UK and Qatars ability to tackle our shared security challenges contributing to regional stability and protecting mutual prosperity and security.