The Royal Air Force Voyager tanker has undertaken air-to-air refuelling (AAR) with Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Rafale fighter jets.

The refuelling took place during a one-week exercise, dubbed ‘Exercise GALWAY’, in Qatar.

It is the first time for the British Air Force to conduct AAR with the Qatar Emiri Air Force.

The Voyager Tanker that refuelled the Rafale fighter jets of QEAF during the exercise is from the RAF’s 83 Expeditionary Air Group (EAG).

Exercise GALWAY provided an opportunity for the existing Operation Shader Voyager Detachment from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) to undertake Partner Nation Integration on ‘discreet, agile’ activity.

The exercise further showcased 83 EAG’s ability to operate across the broader Middle East.

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UK Detachment Commander squadron leader Prager said: “It has been a privilege to work with our Qatari allies working up their Rafale capability for air-to-air refuelling.

“We have had some fantastic moments this week, with the Rafale pilots integrating and debriefing with our crews understanding how well they’ve done in the air and developing their capability as air-to-air refuelling receivers has been a great opportunity.”

Exercise GALWAY was the latest bilateral training activity involving the QEAF and RAF.

The RAF noted that the deployment of the Voyager tanker provided a training opportunity for both air forces and helped to enhance interoperability between the two nations.

This AAR exercise proved that Qatar and the UK share mutual interests to ensure stability in the Middle East.

It also aimed to boost Qatar’s ability in managing the shared security challenges.

In October 2020, UK and Qatar signed a statement of intent to enhance defence ties between the two countries.