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The joint Typhoon squadron of the Royal Air Force (RAF) of the UK and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) has initiated flying operations.

Based at RAF Coningsby, the No 12 Squadron is RAF’s first joint squadron since the Second World War.

The initiative will provide the QEAF crew with necessary training and expertise for operating the Typhoon aircraft.

A flag-raising ceremony was conducted to mark the beginning of the training programme.

QEAF is set to receive 24 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets, under an agreement with BAE Systems. The deliveries are expected to begin in 2022.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “No 12 Squadron is a testament to our enduring friendship and commitment to Qatar, the only nation with which the UK has a Joint Squadron.

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“Together we are protecting populations and securing our mutual interests across the Middle East.”

Qatar Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohammad al Attiyah said: “The first flight of No 12 Squadron marks an important milestone in the commitment of the Qatari Emiri Air Force and the Royal Air Force to deliver on excellence.

“The raising of the flags of Tthe state of Qatar and the United Kingdom side by side in commemoration of the first joint flight represents the alignment of vision and strategy in building for a stable and prosperous future for both nations and the world.”

In addition to Typhoon fighters, Qatar will acquire nine Hawk trainer aircraft from BAE systems.