Senior UK Defence Adviser to the Middle East and North Africa and Senior Royal Air Force officer Air Marshal Martin Elliot Sampson has revealed that the first batch of Typhoon aircraft will be delivered to Qatar starting August.
In an exclusive interview with the Qatar News Agency (QNA) from London, he emphasised that Qatar's ambitions converge with British ambitions to build balanced forces that vary between land, sea and air forces, stressing that diversity will help in the region's security as a whole.
Air Marshal Sampson added that the leaders of forces in Qatar and Britain understand the needs in terms of training and equipment.
He explained aspects of co-operation between the two countries in the field of naval support, including agreements requiring co-operation in shipbuilding programmes to enhance naval capabilities, as well as co-operation in the field of cyber and space security between the army institutions in the two countries.
The British military official underlined that the visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to the United Kingdom will take relations between the two countries to another level and make the future of co-operation between the two countries more prosperous.
Air Marshal Sampson added that Qatar is training new generations of pilots.
The 11th Typhoon squadron is a way to transfer expertise to our closest friends and to train their future pilots, he said, adding that they are honoured to host nine Hawk aircraft belonging to the Qatar Amiri Air Force, which is a long-term commitment that extends for six years and helps expand the training process.
The first regiment of pilots is already using the aircraft, and the second regiment is on its way to that as well, he noted.
Air Marshal Sampson explained that the memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries is not dedicated to training only, as the two countries have common visions for security in the region.
Different regiments of pilots will continue to train generation after generation for 35 years on Typhoon aircraft that have special capabilities such as air refueling, which will help the Qatari Amiri Air Force to reach a higher level in the field of combat capability, he added.
Regarding the features of the Typhoon aircraft, he explained that the are very special, because when you look at the four countries that make up the alliance to manufacture fighters – the UK, Italy, Germany and Spain – you have the experience and knowledge of all these countries and their industrial bases combined in one fighter, in addition to the presence of many countries other than these four countries using this fighter aircraft.
As a former pilot who used this fighter, Air Marshal Sampson confirmed its capabilities.
He indicated that the capabilities of this aircraft can be adapted to suit the needs of the Qatar Amiri Air Force.
Air Marshal Sampson added that the Typhoon has proven its worth in times of war and peace, contributing to the defence of the skies of the UK and the skies of friendly countries.
He pointed out that the Typhoon is still carrying out tasks in tracking and targeting the remnants of the Islamic State in the region.
He said that the Qatari Armed Forces have achieved tremendous development over the years, adding that the development is not only at the level of military equipment, but also in training and education, and in command and control, as well as in all aspects related to defence.
Air Marshal Sampson noted that some countries only want to buy British tanks, planes and ships, but the partnership with friends takes it to other levels in the long term, and the Qatari forces are always thinking about the long term.