UK Defense Senior Advisor to the Middle East and North Africa and Senior Royal Air Force officer Air Marshal Martin Elliot Sampson revealed that the first batch of Typhoon aircrafts will be delivered to Qatar starting next August.
In an exclusive interview with Qatar News Agency (QNA) from London, Sampson emphasized that the State of Qatar's ambitions converge with British ambitions to build balanced forces that vary between land, sea and air forces, stressing that diversity will help in the region's security as a whole.
He added that the leaders of forces in Qatar and Britain understand the needs in terms of training and equipment. He explained aspects of cooperation between the two countries in the field of naval support, including agreements requiring cooperation in shipbuilding programs to enhance naval capabilities, as well as cooperation in the field of cyber and space security between the army institutions in the two countries.
The British military official underlined that the visit of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani to the United Kingdom will of course take the relations between the two countries to another level and make the future of cooperation between the two countries more prosperous, in light of the great ambitions that the two countries want to achieve in the future.
He revealed that the MoU signed between the two countries in April 2021 takes the two countries to a higher level towards achieving a unique relationship, pointing out that Britain is cooperating in the field of joint squadron with only two countries in the world, the State of Qatar is one of them.
Sampson added that Qatar, as an ambitious country, is training new generations of pilots. The 11th Typhoon squadron is a way to transfer expertise to our closest friends and to train their future pilots, he said, adding that they are honored to host 9 Hawk aircraft belonging to the Qatar Amiri Air Force, which is a long-term commitment that extends for six years and helps expand the training process. The first regiment of pilots is already using the aircraft, and the second regiment is on its way to that as well, he noted.
He explained that the MoU signed between the two countries is not dedicated to training only, as the two countries have common visions for security in the region; thus, long-term partnerships were built through this memorandum. Different regiments of pilots will continue to train generation after generation for 35 years on Typhoon aircraft that have special capabilities such as air refueling, which will help the Qatari Amiri Air Force to reach a higher level in the field of combat capability, he added.
Regarding the features of the Typhoon aircrafts, he explained that the are very special, because when you look at the four countries that make up the alliance to manufacture fighters- UK, Italy, Germany and Spain- you have the experience and knowledge of all these countries and their industrial bases combined in one fighter, in addition to the presence of many countries other than these four countries using this fighter aircraft. As a former pilot who used this fighter, Air Marshal Sampson confirmed its capabilities.
Sampson indicated that the capabilities of this aircraft can be adapted to suit the needs of the Qatar Amiri Air Force, adding that they have the experience and knowledge that qualifies the forces to know how to make this aircraft suitable for any needs, and this is what makes this fighter distinguished. When looking at other countries in the region that purchased Typhoon aircraft, you will find that each of them developed the aircraft to meet its needs, a feature that may not be available in many other fighters, he said.
He added that the Typhoon proved its worth in times of war and peace, as this fighter aircraft contributed to the defense of the skies of the United Kingdom and the skies of friendly countries. He pointed out that the Typhoon is still carrying out tasks in tracking and targeting the remnants of ISIS in the region.
Regarding cooperation in training Qatari students in British military academies, the British military official stressed that he was proud of the confidence of friendly countries in training future generations and leaders in British military academies, pointing out that students coming from allied countries bring experiences that benefit their British peers in the land, sea and air forces. It is interesting to follow the extent of the development that Qatari students have reached in these military academies, he said, adding that there are many Qatari students who have studied in these academies, and he knew them for twenty or thirty years.
The UK Defense Senior Advisor to the Middle East and North Africa said that the Qatari Armed Forces have achieved tremendous development over the years, explaining that the development achieved by the Qatari forces is not only at the level of military equipment, but also in training and education, and in command and control, as well as in all aspects related to defense. The Qatari forces follow a comprehensive approach to play a role with partners in the region and with friendly countries such as the United Kingdom, he said, explaining that this is what draws attention to the development of the Qatari Armed Forces.
He pointed out that this development can be seen in the military exercises, planning and logistics that have taken place so far in preparation for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, adding that the State of Qatar seeks to establish comprehensive, balanced and distinguished relations and partnership with the United Kingdom. He noted that some countries only want to buy British tanks, planes and ships, but the partnership with friends takes it to other levels in the long term, and the Qatari forces are always thinking about the long term.
On military and security cooperation during the 2022 World Cup, he said that his country has already provided support in the fields of defense and security in relation to the World Cup through its accumulated experiences by hosting the 2012 London Olympics, during which Sampson was the commander of the Typhoon squadron responsible for securing British airspace during the tournament.
He stressed that Britain wants Qatar to achieve great success in hosting the World Cup.
He concluded that cooperation during the World Cup is not the end of the partnership between the two countries, but rather this tournament will be an opportunity to show how friends can provide to each other, pointing out that the cooperation between the two countries during this major event will constitute a new impetus for future cooperation to achieve other common goals. It will be the starting point and not the end point for everything the two sides do together in terms of activities and events, as there are great opportunities for cooperation after the World Cup.
Sampson explained that the State of Qatar will play the main and most important role in securing the World Cup, adding that they will do everything in their power to place Qatar in the best position when it hosts the World Cup. He said that they can provide support in terms of securing the World Cup, and will also provide experts in some of the aspects that Qatar needs, as the bilateral relations are very distinct and based on partnership and diversity.
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