Qatar received its first batch of Dassault Rafale combat aircraft on 5 June, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) announced.
The first five of 36 aircraft ordered for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) were received by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during a ceremony at the newly completed Dukhan Airbase (also known as Tamim Airbase) on the western coast of the Middle East peninsula.
The arrival of the first Rafales at Dukhan Airbase marks a key milestone in a major military aviation capitalisation process for Qatar that has recently seen it order a large number of varied fixed- and rotary-winged combat and support aircraft.
These have included 36 Boeing F-15QA (Qatar Advanced)-variant Eagles (with a requirement for 36 more); 24 Eurofighter Typhoons; six BAE Systems Hawks; 48 Boeing AH-64E Apaches; 28 NHIndustries NH90s; four Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs; and four Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules. The Gulf state is also in the market to procure either (or both) the Airbus Defence and Space A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and Boeing KC-46A Pegasus, and has a requirement for an airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) platform as well (a previously declared intent to buy the Boeing E-7 AEW&C has not been fulfilled).
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