Britain launches high-speed jet training school for Qatari pilots as part of £6bn deal

Qatar has ordered 33 British Hawks and Typhoon aircraft as part of the defence package

Dr Khalid Al Attiyah, Qatar's minister of state for defence, and Ben Wallace, UK secretary of state for defence, visit RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire, to view the squadron. MOD

The UK has launched a joint Hawk squadron pilot military training centre as part of a £6 billion ($8.04bn) defence deal with Qatar.

The centre, in North Yorkshire, will deliver advanced and high-speed jet training to British and Qatari pilots in the new Hawks.

The initiative is part of a £6bn package, which will enable Qatar purchase more than 30 British-made jets.

Qatar has ordered nine Hawk Mk167 aircraft, which are manufactured in Lancashire by BAE Systems, 24 Typhoons and a package of bespoke training.

Training at RAF Leeming is already under way and the first four Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF) cadets began their Hawk training in October.

Khalid Al Attiyah, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence, and Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, received a guard of honour from officers at RAF Leeming. Photo: SAC Harry Roberts

The Squadron aims to train eight Qatari pilots a year and RAF trainee pilots are due to join the Squadron in 2022 to train alongside them.

The new Joint Hawk Training Squadron builds on the success of the UK-Qatar Joint Typhoon Squadron based at RAF Coningsby.

This Squadron aims to train up to 20 Qatari pilots before the delivery of Typhoons to Qatar in 2023.

The UK's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid Al Attiyah, a trained fast-jet pilot, have visited the site together to view the new Hawk Mk167 jets.

"The UK’s defence relationship with Qatar is strong and enduring," Mr Wallace said.

“The new Joint Hawk Squadron not only delivers greater prosperity for British industry, it will also allow our Armed Forces to build stronger relationships and create opportunities for further engagement with our Gulf partners in the future.

“Our Armed Forces work together to address shared security challenges and common threats in the region and beyond. Our defence relationship helps to improve regional stability in the Gulf and helps to ensure the security of the UK.”

British aerospace and defence company, Nova Systems, was awarded a contract by the Ministry of Defence to deliver the training programme.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace discusses the jet programme with Qatar's Deputy Prime Minister Dr Khalid Al Attiyah. Photo: SAC Harry Roberts

“We have worked closely with Ministry of Defence, BAE Systems and their Qatari partners on what has been a fascinating, fast-paced and very satisfying programme,” said Gareth Dyer, managing director of Nova Systems.

“Nova Systems are proud to support the Qatar Air Programmes Office and are delighted to see the arrival of the first two Qatar Emiri Air Force Hawk167 aircraft at RAF Leeming.

“These new aircraft represent a significant milestone in the UK–Qatar defence relationship. The aircraft will be used to train Qatari and British fast-jet pilots over the coming years in a Joint Hawk Training Squadron."

Updated: December 23rd 2021, 3:40 PM