on 5 June 2019 Qatar received its first batch of Dassault Rafale combat aircraft from France
The first five of 36 aircraft ordered for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) were received by the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, during a ceremony at the newly completed Dukhan Airbase (also known as Tamim Airbase) on the western coast of the Middle East peninsula.
Back in 2015, Qatar ordered 24 of the fighters from France — the third-biggest arms exporter in the world — and added 12 more last year, the source said, adding that Doha had an option to buy yet another 36.
— وزارة الدفاع – دولة قطر (@MOD_Qatar) June 5, 2019
They have remained in France until now as Qatari pilots have been trained on the platform.
The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard-delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions. The Rafale is referred to as an “omnirole” aircraft by Dassault.
The arrival of the first Rafales at Dukhan Airbase marks a key milestone in a major military aviation capitalisation process for Qatar that has recently seen it order a large number of varied fixed- and rotary-winged combat and support aircraft.
These have included
- 36 Boeing F-15QA (Qatar Advanced)-variant Eagles (with a requirement for 36 more)
- 24 Eurofighter Typhoons
- 6 BAE Systems Hawks
- 48 Boeing AH-64E Apaches
- 28 NHIndustries NH90s;
- 4 Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs
- 4 Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules.