Gavin Williamson welcomed his counterpart, His Excellency Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah, to London. They 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.
Regional security and the furthering of defence collaboration and dialogue across the Gulf, in the face of mutual threats to security and stability, was also discussed.
Defence Secretary Gavin 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.”
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 start of manufacturing of the @Eurofighter_1 Typhoon jets for the Qatar Emiri Air Force today marks the latest step in a long-term relationship with the State of Qatar. We were delighted to welcome His Excellency Khalid bin Mohammad Attiyah to our production facilities today. pic.twitter.com/7KEM4uZZgv— BAE Systems Air (@BAESystemsAir) October 19, 2018
The deal, representing a distinct and tailored package will see the Royal Air Force and QAAF working together in a new Typhoon Joint Squadron. This unique partnership was marked by the visit to the UK by His Highness the Amir of Qatar in July, and his participation in a ceremony marking the reformation of 12 Squadron as the new Joint Squadron.
The joint squadron 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. Not since the Battle of Britain has the UK formed a squadron with another nation and this new partnership will help forge lasting bonds between the RAF and their Qatari counterparts.
Qatar is the ninth country to purchase the Typhoon, with the deal sustaining thousands of jobs. The UK is a world-leader in the combat air sector, with a mix of skills and technologies unique in Europe. The sector delivers a turnover of more than £6bn a year and has made up over 80% of defence exports from the UK over the last ten years.