The Qatar Emiri Air Force has now received three batches of Dassault Rafales, totalling 15 aircraft, and the first squadron is working up at the new Tamim Air Base at Dukhan in western Qatar.
Qatar originally signed a €6.3 billion ($6.92bn) memorandum of understanding covering the supply of 24 Rafales (six of them two-seat trainers) in May 2015, on the opening day of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX).
Its purchase of the Rafale follows earlier acquisitions of the Dassault Mirage F1, the Alpha Jet and Mirage 2000.
Qatar paid a deposit for the Rafales on December 16, 2015, reportedly funded by Japanese banks.
Twelve more Rafales were added to the original order in December 2017 and Qatar retains an option to buy up to 36 more.
The first Qatari Rafale, a two-seater, made its maiden flight from Bordeaux-Merignac, in France, on June 28 2016, and the country’s initial single-seat Rafale EQ took off for the first time on March 27 2017. These early aircraft were quickly transferred to the French Air Force flight-test centre at Istres Airbase for testing. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Arabian Aerospace website.