Defending Airspace

The Qatar Emiri Air Force Equips Itself With Advanced Jet Fighters


In recent years, the State of Qatar has worked to strengthen its Emiri Air Force by supplying it with the highest-precision aircraft in the world. Starting with the French-built Rafale jets for the Al-Adiyat squadron, the Qatar Emiri Air Force has begun acquisition of the U.S.-built F-15QA Ababil. This comes from the vision of the State Supreme Command to enhance our military capabilities and to safeguard national and regional security. 

This system was selected for its ability to perform a number of flights and therefore
enhance our defensive and security capabilities. This fighter jet is a next-generation aircraft that
has new technology, including electronic flight system controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors.

The new fighter also includes advanced radar technology and electronic warfare capabilities, supported by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, making it a transformative step forward for the F-15QA fighter jet.

 These aircraft, in the view of the experts, are considered among the best fighter jets in terms of rapid maneuverability on both offensive and defensive missions. We are very proud of this accomplishment and we are really looking forward to the ongoing success of these programs. 

We start with the aircraft itself, but of course it cannot function without maintenance crews. The manufacturer supplies us with the aircraft, and the technical and maintenance crews supply the aircraft with all the necessities. Therefore, we must pay attention to training the technical crews before going airborne, to maintain the sustainability and preparation of the aircraft. 

To clarify the F-15QA’s technical and security needs, I would like to point out that the warplane consists of two seats, that of the pilot and of the weapons systems officer. There are also operational systems to support them, such as intelligence and operations, which contribute to equipping specific missions. Cooperation between more than one party is essential to achieve the objective. 

Education and training take time, and purchasing the aircraft does not mean that the maintenance and technical crews are ready. Therefore, we must plan training for these personnel at an early stage so that both the technical and maintenance crews are ready to operate the aircraft when it arrives, as well as the aircrew conducting the mission.

We have been training technical crews for three years since the signing of the agreement to purchase the F-15QA by sending personnel away for instruction. When it comes to the actual aircrews, as His Excellency Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Salem Al-Nabit mentioned when he was in St. Louis in the United States, a good number of officers have completed training on the F-15QA and will conduct flights in these aircraft. 

Learning from our U.S. and international military partners is critical. It is known the U.S. has the largest military force in the world and has engaged in many operations and conflicts. Since I am the Wing Project Officer, it is my opinion that American forces are the best to learn from in terms of their expertise. As I have told American partners, I am striving for the day when Qatari forces will reach the same level of professionalism as American forces, to the extent they cannot be distinguished apart. 

Our aim is to support and partner with American forces in their operations as much as possible, in accordance with guidelines from the Qatari Supreme Command, and also to understand the evolution that takes place and the subsequent increase in our expertise. It is human nature to learn new things and to benefit from the experiences of others. Being inward-looking does not allow for development. 

A pilot considers his aircraft his office. I personally love my job as a fighter pilot. It is in my blood. I reach my goals with the best outcomes and the fewest losses. This comes from continuous training and learning, and the state has been keen to reinforce that through joint training that has contributed significantly to acquiring knowledge, exchanging expertise, increasing competency, and developing our combat skills. Additional training focuses on air support, maintenance and refueling operations.

Operational personnel study to counter every type of aerial threat and challenge, including advances in drone technology that states currently face. Personnel continuously study to preempt these threats, as well as picking up expertise from countries that have come before us in this field. Because Qatar hosted the World Cup, acquisition of these skills was on the Armed Forces’ priority list. Joint training contributes hugely to understanding the value of joint action and learning the best ways to face regional security threats. Exercises and training test our readiness and our collective ability to work together, in order to deal with realistic scenarios and respond to threats.

As an example, I personally worked with British forces, and our Air Force’s Mirage was more sophisticated than those flown by participating British pilots. However, during training, the British forces were able to outperform us, maximizing the capabilities of their aircraft, utilizing that in their performance and working to overcome challenges they might face. I always use this experience as an example when training novice aircrews, and ask them not to judge on appearances only.

Such military exercises greatly benefit us. We learn training methods and benefit from expertise and subsequent self-development. Air Force personnel mostly cooperate with other branches of the military, such as the Navy or ground forces, as part of a joint force. As is known in the Armed Forces, there is an expansion in the field of training, development of equipment and education. Therefore, cooperation as a joint force helps open up avenues for developing skills and familiarization with other specialized force missions, and operational success through involvement in joint exercises. 

In conclusion, the expansion of the Qatari Emir Air Force with the F-15QA is a dream come true, and I thank the State for the decision. Qatar is always keen to develop through support and acquiring vehicles and aircraft. My role is to make this a high-quality system through training, learning and vision, in addition to benefitting from the expertise of U.S. forces in this field.

As wing commander, I am keen to uphold integrity. I do not want to let my country and my command down. I will do all I can to the best of my experience, training and knowledge.  

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