UK, Qatar agree to establish joint Hawk training squadron at RAF Leeming

UK Qatar Hawk training squadron
RAF Hawk trainer jets.

On April 1, 2021, the UK and Qatar Defence Secretaries met to sign a major military collaboration agreement between the two countries.

The agreement provides for the establishment of a joint RAF and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Hawk Training Squadron at RAF Leeming in Yorkshire and regular RAF Voyager deployments to Qatar to provide air-to-air refuelling (AAR) opportunities for the QEAF.

The joint Hawk training squadron at RAF Leeming is expected to stand up in September this year. The squadron will deliver Advanced Jet Training (AJT) to QEAF and RAF pilots and will be home to Qatar’s recently acquired nine Hawk T2 Mk167 aircraft, which are currently being built by BAE Systems at Warton, Lancashire.

The formation of a second UK-Qatar joint squadron will provide additional flying hours for RAF pilots and see long-term international investment in new infrastructure and training facilities at RAF Leeming. This will include a Hawk training simulator, and the refurbishment of existing facilities.

The decision to base the new squadron at RAF Leeming represents a long-term commitment to the base, which provides a strategic and operational Main Operating Base for the RAF.

Starting in July 2021, RAF Voyager aircraft are expected to deploy to Qatar periodically to provide air-to-air refuelling training for the QEAF’s fleet of fast jet aircraft. These deployments will provide a valuable training opportunity for both air forces; enhancing their interoperability with other nations.

Source, Images: RAF

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