UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Qatar Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah have launched a new Joint Hawk Training Squadron.
The new Joint Hawk Squadron was unveiled during Reformation Event at Royal Air Force (RAF) Leeming in Yorkshire.
Dubbed ‘11 Squadron (Qatar)’, the new Joint Hawk Squadron further bolsters bi-lateral relations and friendship between the RAF and the Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF).
Qatar has so far ordered nine Hawk Mk167 aircraft.
The jets are being manufactured in Lancashire by BAE Systems as part of a £6bn package, which also includes the manufacture of 24 Typhoons and bespoke training.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK’s defence relationship with Qatar is strong and enduring and it has been a great pleasure to welcome His Excellency Dr Khalid to RAF Leeming.
“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.”
AF and QEAF pilots will receive advanced and high-speed jet training from 11 Squadron (Qatar).
Training for the first four QEAF student pilots has already started while RAF student pilots will join the squadron next year.
The squadron will train a total of eight Qatari pilots a year and up to 20 pilots before the delivery of Typhoons to QEAF in 2023.
BAE Systems and its partners will support the QEAF’s new Hawk Mk 167 fleet.
BAE Systems Air Europe & International managing director Andrea Thompson said: “This achievement today marks another major milestone in the development of our ongoing partnership with both the UK RAF and the Qatar Emiri Air Force.
“I am very proud of the integral role that BAE Systems is playing within the Joint Hawk Training Squadron, as we assist in the delivery of this vital capability alongside both air forces.”