Qatar Air Force
|Qatar Air Force|
Qatar Air Force emblem
Libyan Civil War
Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen
|Brigadier General Mubarak Mohammed Al Kumait Al Khayarin|
|Fighter||Mirage 2000, Dassault Rafale|
|Helicopter||Aérospatiale Gazelle, Westland Sea King, AW139, AH-64|
|Trainer||Alpha Jet, Piper Cherokee, Piper PA-34 Seneca|
|Transport||Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Dassault Falcon 900|
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.
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.
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 Doha at Al Udaid. The facility has hardened aircraft shelters, air defence radars, and Roland missile batteries. In the 1990s, the QAF acquired a squadron of Mirage 2000s to replace the Mirage F1.
In 2005, the Air Force participated in Exercise Eagle Resolve, along with Qatari medical services and emergency medical teams to build interoperability with their US counterparts. The US 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in this exercise to validate the nation’s crisis management plan prior to hosting the 2006 Asian Games.
Other acquisitions have been for an order of 39 AW139 helicopters. 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 Medevac services.
By 2010, the Qatar Emiri Air Force's personnel strength was at 2,100 and its equipment included the Mirage 2000-3EDA, the SA 342L Gazelle, and the C-17A Globemaster III. Aircraft either flew out of al-Udeid field or Doha International Airport and received 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. In May 2015, the QAF awarded the contract for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters worth €6.3 billion ($7 billion). 
In July 2012, the Qatar Air Force ordered 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, the QAF ordered four additional C-17s, to supplement the existing four delivered in 2009 and 2012.
In September 2016, the sale of up to 72 F-15QAs to Qatar was submitted to the US Congress for approval. The deal (for 24 planes plus an option for 12 more), valued at USD21.1 billion, was signed in November 2016.
In August 2018, Qatar announced the construction of a new air base to be named after Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In addition to the new air base, Al Udeid Air Base and Doha International Air Base are to be expanded in order to accommodate aircraft on order.
- Al Udeid Air Base
- 3rd Rotary Wing
- 20th Squadron – 39 AW139
- Transport Wing
- Transport Squadron – 8 C-17 Globemaster, 4 C-130J-30
- Al Zaeem Mohamed Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah Air College - 8 x MFI-395 Super Mushshak, 24 x PC-21, 14 SA342 Gazelle (to be replaced with 16 x H125)
- 3rd Rotary Wing
- 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 (To be replaced with AH-64)
- 8th Anti-Surface Vessel Squadron – Westland Sea King
- 9th Multi-Role Squadron – Westland Commando Mk 2
- 1st Fighter Wing
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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Qatar Air Force.|
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