24 Oct 2018

Defence Secretary reaffirms UK’s defence relationship with Qatar

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson welcomed his counterpart, His Excellency Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, to London as he reaffirmed the UK and Qatar’s Defence relationship as production ramps up on Typhoon fighter jets that will be sold to the Gulf nation.

The two men spoke about the future of the defence relationship, underpinned by the recently agreed partnership on a Joint Typhoon Squadron and Qatar’s acquisition of the aircraft.

Also up for discussion was regional security and the furthering of defence collaboration and dialogue across the Gulf, in the face of mutual threats to security and stability.

As part of his visit to the UK, the Qatari Defence Minister also visited BAE Systems sites in Warton and Samlesbury to cut steel, officially marking the start of production on the first Typhoon fighter jets. Qatar’s acquisition of Typhoon will see the first aircraft will be delivered to the Qatari Amiri Air Force (QAAF) in 2022.

Qatar’s deal to purchase the Typhoon and Hawk recently achieved contract effectiveness, supporting BAE Systems, its nearly 35,000 employees and the 9,000 companies in its supply chain.

The deal will see the Royal Air Force and QAAF working together in a new Typhoon Joint Squadron, which will initially be based in the UK, comprising of pilots and ground crew, based at RAF Coningsby. This represents a unique initiative, which will allow QAAF to familiarise themselves with the aircraft ahead of delivery.

Mr 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.”

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