UK, Qatar join forces to defend airspace during FIFA World Cup 2022
The United Kingdom Ministry of Defence announced it will help secure the airspace of Qatar during the FIFA World Cup 2022.
Doha, Qatar’s capital city, is set to host the international men's football championship between November 21 and December 18, 2022. The Eurofighter Typhoon fighters operated by 12 Squadron will be deployed as a Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) force to police the airspace of the host country.
“During the deployment, [the squadron] will support counter-terrorism efforts through air security operations,” the Ministry of Defence commented in a statement. “The UK’s contribution will add expertise and capability, in part gained through the UK’s Olympic experience in 2012.”
Also known as the Joint Typhoon Squadron, 12 Squadron consists of both personnel of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), and is based at RAF Coningsby, England.
The RAF operates two joint squadrons with the QEAF. The other one, the Joint Hawk Training Squadron, is based at RAF Leeming, northern England, and aims to train pilots from both air forces. In total, the QEAF ordered 24 Typhoons and 9 Hawk jet trainers from British manufacturer BAE Systems.
France will also help with the protection of the event. In December 2021, the French Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee reported that an E-3F Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and a BASSALT anti-drone system of the French Air and Space Force, along with advisors, would be deployed in the framework of an “Advise and Assist” mission.
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