First British Joint Multinational Squadron since World War II stands up in the UK

A Typhoon assigned to No.12 Squadron preparing to start its engines ahead of a training mission. (Photo: Royal Air Force/Crown Copyright)

The No.12 Squadron will operate from RAF Coningsby with pilots from the Royal Air Force and the Qatar Emiri Air Force

The Royal Air Force (RAF) and Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) have begun joint flight operations from RAF Coningsby, UK, with the newly reformed No.12 Squadron, the first multinational squadron in British service since the end of World War II. The new squadron will focus on the training of Qatari air and ground crews ahead of the delivery of their new Typhoons in 2022.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in the official press release: “No.12 Squadron is a testament to our enduring friendship and commitment to Qatar, the only nation with which the UK has a Joint Squadron. Together we are protecting populations and securing our mutual interests across the Middle East.”

The QEAF signed a deal in late 2017 with BAE Systems for 24 Typhoons and 9 Hawk T2, part of a £5.1 billion deal which includes also support and training. As we wrote last year here at TheAviationist, the Typhoons for Qatar, together with the ones being built for Kuwait, are the most advanced in production. They will be equipped with the new AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) Captor-E radar and the Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod.

British and Qatari pilots returning from a training flight. (Photo: Royal Air Force/Crown Copyright)

No.12 Squadron was previously a Tornado GR4 unit disbanded on Feb. 14, 2018, and officially reformed on Jul. 24, 2018, as a joint RAF/QEAF squadron. The squadron received the first Typhoons transferred from other British squadrons in 2019 and started incorporating Qatari crews earlier this year, before the first flight by Qatari pilots last week. Meanwhile, the squadron participated with British pilots to Exercise Epic Skies 3 in Qatar and trained with the newly arrived Rafales. The squadron is also set to move to Qatar in future, probably after the delivery of the first new aircraft for Qatar.

With the start of joint operations, the Typhoons of the No.12 Squadron received their new markings, with a shield on the tail containing the flags of both Countries and a fox’s head, the original squadron’s badge. The RAF roundel on the fuselage is accompanied by green, white and black bars.

Qatar is currently is currently in the process of replacing its 12 Mirage 2000-5 and ordered 36 Rafale F3-R (some of which have already been delivered), 72 F-15QA “Qatar Advanced” (dubbed the most advanced Eagle currently in production) and 24 Eurofighter Typhoons with the latest upgrades, increasing more than 10 times the fighter fleet from just 12 aircraft to 132 aircraft.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.