Very popular in the United States, the exercise known as the “elephant walk” consists of rolling a large number of aircraft in close formation on a runway before taking off in short intervals. It is a way to evaluate the availability of a country’s air force and is implicitly a strong demonstration of power. 

In a video posted on December 12, 2020, the Qatar Emiri Air Force mobilized most of its aircraft fleet to carry out its own “elephant walk”. Some aerial footage was also included in the montage.

The display involved an impressive variety of aircraft on an unidentified runway, ranging from C-17 Globemaster III and C-130J Hercules transport planes to AH-64E Apache and AW139 helicopters. As for fighter jets, the highlight of the show, the lineup was exclusively French: the Mirage 2000 was accompanied by its recently arrived successor, the Rafale.

This should change soon, however, as Qatar has an impressive backlog of 24 Eurofighter Typhoons, 36 Boeing F-15QA (the most advanced variant of the aircraft), and 12 more Rafale to add to the 24 it has already received.

The Italian Defense Minister Lorenzo Guerini met his Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, to discuss the training of the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) pilots. The acquisition of a number of Leonardo T-346 jet trainers could reportedly be in the talks.