BAE Systems has started production on the Qatari Amiri Air Force’s (QAAF) Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets at its sites in Warton and Samlesbury, UK.
The start of production was officially marked by a steel cutting ceremony at the BAE’s facilities during a visit of Qatari Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah to the UK.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is manufactured by a consortium of BAE Systems, Airbus and Leonardo.
Under the contract, the first aircraft is expected to be delivered to the QAAF in 2022.
Last month, BAE Systems finalised a £5bn deal to sell 24 Typhoon fighter jets to Qatar following the receipt of the first payment. Qatar will also acquire nine Hawk trainer aircraft.
The Middle Eastern nation becomes the ninth country to buy the Typhoon jets. As part of the deal, the Royal Air Force (RAF) will work with QAAF in a Typhoon Joint Squadron.
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The defence collaboration between the countries for Typhoon Joint Squadron was struck during the visit of the Amir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani to the UK.
To be initially based at RAF Coningsby in the UK, the joint squadron will enable the QAAF to get practical experience with the aircraft prior to delivery.
During his visit, Al Attiyah discussed the future of the defence relationship between the two nations with UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson.
The officials also discussed regional security and advancement of collaboration across the Gulf to address mutual threats to security and stability.
Williamson said: “Our two nations enjoy extremely strong links. From the coalition air campaign headquarters in Qatar, we work together to stamp out the threat from Daesh.
“We trade together, significantly boosting the British economy, and it is vital that we continue to forge this relationship to ensure the mutual safety of our people.”