The Qatar Emiri Air Force is the air arm of the armed forces of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. QEAF is operating 8 C-17 Globemaster III since 2015


In March 1968, in response to the British announcement that it would withdraw its armed forces from the Persian Gulf, Qatar set up armed forces, creating the Qatar Public Security Forces Air Wing, equipped with two Westland Whirlwind helicopters. In 1971, it acquired a combat capability when it purchased three ex-RAF Hawker Hunter jet fighters, which remained in use until 1981. It was renamed the Qatar Emiri Air Force in 1974.[1]

The air force began a major expansion in 1979, when it ordered six Alpha Jet trainer/light attack aircraft. This was followed by orders for 14 Mirage F1 supersonic jet fighters in 1980, which were delivered between 1980-84. Twelve Gazelle helicopters, armed with HOT anti-tank missiles were received from 1983. Also in 1983, the air force took over the Qatar Police Air Wing.[2]

In 1991, the Qatari Air Force contributed aircraft to conduct strikes against Iraqi forces during the Gulf War. After the conflict the government sought to fortify their air defense with the construction of a new base southwest of the Doha at Al Udaid. The facility has hardened aircraft shelters, air defence radars and Roland missile batteries. [citation needed] In the 1990s, they acquired a squadron of Mirage 2000s to replace Mirage F1.

In 2005, the Air Force participated in Exercise Eagle Resolve, along with Medical Services and Emergency Medical teams to build Interoperability with their US counterparts. The U.S. 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in exercise to validate the nation’s crisis management plan prior to hosting the Asian Games in 2006.

Other acquisitions have been for an order of 18 AW139 helicopters.[3] The helicopters are used for utility tasks, troop transport, search and rescue, border patrol, special forces operations, and law enforcement. Three additional aircraft were ordered in March 2011 for Medivac services.[4] By 2010, the Qatar Emiri Air Force's personnel strength was at 2100 and among its fleet of equipment was the Mirage 2000-3EDA, the SA 342L Gazelle, as well as the C-17A Globemaster III. Aircraft either fly out of al-Udeid field or Doha International Airport and receive training from British instructors. In January 2011, the Air Force evaluated the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the Boeing F-15E and the Dassault Rafale to replace its current fighter inventory of Dassault Mirage 2000-5s.[5] In May 2015, the Air Force awarded the contract for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters worth €6.3 billion ($7 billion).[6][7]

In July 2012, it was announced that the Qatar Air Force had placed an order for a complete pilot training system from Pilatus centering upon the PC-21. The package included ground-based training devices, logistical support and maintenance in addition to 24 PC-21 aircraft.

In June 2015, it was announced that four additional C-17s were ordered to supplement the existing four delivered in 2009 and 2012.

In September 2016 it was announced that the sale of up to 72 F-15QA has been submitted to the US Congress for approval.[8][9] Deal for 24 planes plus option for 12 more valued at USD21.1 billion was signed off on November 2016.[10]

17 September 2017: UK to supply Qatar with 24 Typhoon fighter jets.[11] 7 December 2017 : France to supply Qatar with 12 additional Rafale fighter jets, option for 36 more.[12]


  • Al Udeid Air Base[13]
    • Transport Wing
      • Transport Squadron – 8 C-17 Globemaster, 4 C-130J-30
      • Al Zaeem Mohamed Bin Abdullah Al Attiyah Air College - 8 x MFI-395 Super Mushshak, 24 x PC-21, 14 SA342 Gazelle (to be replaced with 16 x H125)
  • Doha International Air Base
    • 1st Fighter Wing
      • 7th Air Superiority Squadron – 9 Mirage 2000-5EDA, 3 Mirage 2000-5DDA
      • 11th Close Support Squadron – 6 Alpha Jet
    • 2nd Rotary Wing
      • 6th Close Support Squadron – 14 SA342 Gazelle (To be replaced with AH-64)
      • 8th Anti-Surface Vessel Squadron – Westland Sea King
      • 9th Multi-Role Squadron – Westland Commando Mk 2
    • 3rd Rotary Wing
      • 20th Squadron – 18 AW139


Current inventory

A Qatari Mirage 2000-5 participating in Operation Odyssey Dawn
A Sea King conducts a counter-terrorism exercise
C-17 of Qatar Air Force
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Alpha Jet France / Germany light attack 6[14]
Mirage 2000 France multirole 5EDA 9[14]
Dassault Rafale France multirole 36 on order[15]
F-15E Strike Eagle United States strike fighter F-15QA 36 on order[16]
Eurofighter Typhoon Germany / United Kingdom multirole 24 on order[17]
Boeing 737 AEW&C United States AEW 3 on order[18]
Boeing C-17 United States heavy transport 8[14] one aircraft operated with the Qatar Amiri Flight
C-130J Super Hercules United States utility transport C-130J-30 4[14]
Airbus A330 MRTT France Aerial refueling / Transport 2 on order [19]
SA342 Gazelle France armed scout 13[14]
AH-64 Apache United States attack AH-64E 24 on order[14]
Westland Sea King United Kingdom ASW / utility Mk.3 11[14]
NHIndustries NH90 European Union utility / transport 28 on order[14][20]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy utility 19[14]
Trainer Aircraft
Mirage 2000 France conversion trainer 5DDA 3[14]
Pilatus PC-21 Switzerland primary trainer 24 24[14]
PAC Super Mushshak Pakistan primary trainer 4 4 on order[14]
H125 France training helicopter 16 16 on order[21]


Previous notable aircraft operated by the Air Force consisted of the Hawker Hunter, Dassault Mirage F1, Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Westland Whirlwind, Britten-Norman Islander, and the Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma helicopter.[22]


  1. ^ Air International September 1988, p. 136.
  2. ^ Air International September 1988, pp. 136, 139.
  3. ^ Qatar Armed Forces Sign Contract for 18 AW139 Helicopters – ASDNews. Asd-network.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
  4. ^ "The Qatar Armed Forces Order Three EMS-Configured AW139s" Archived May 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Agusta Westland 21 March 2011
  5. ^ http://www.defensenews.com/article/20131110/DEFREG04/311100014/US-Bid-Delays-Qatar-Jet-Competition[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ http://www.apnewsarchive.com/2015/France-sells-24-Rafale-fighter-jets-to-Qatar-in-a-7-billion-deal/id-c985c8c8562c4bed96073f77fa16c931
  7. ^ "Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF)". globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "U.S. set to approve sales of Boeing fighters to Qatar, Kuwait - sources". Reuters. 1 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  9. ^ "Fighter Jet Sales to Gulf Allies Backed by U.S. After a Wait". Bloomberg. 29 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "Qatar and Kuwait fighter deals signed off". Combat Aircraft. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016. 
  11. ^ http://thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/17/09/2017/UK-to-supply-Qatar-with-24-Typhoon-fighter-jets
  12. ^ http://www.france24.com/fr/20171207-qatar-france-visite-emmanuel-macron-rafale-airbus-blindes-metro-ratp-sncf
  13. ^ http://www.scramble.nl/orbats/qatar/airforce
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "World Air Forces 2018". Flightglobal Insight. 2018. Retrieved 4 December 2017. 
  15. ^ "Qatar adds a dozen more Rafales to order". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 6 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "Qatar orders 36 F-15QA fighters". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 16 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Qatar formalises deal for 24 Eurofighters". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 10 December 2017. 
  18. ^ http://defenseupdates.blogspot.com/2014/03/qatar-buys-boeing-737-aew-ah-64e-and-nh.html
  19. ^ http://company.airbus.com/news-media/press-releases/Airbus-Group/Financial_Communication/2014/03/20140327_airbus_defence_and_space_a330_mrtt_qatar.html
  20. ^ "Qatar ups order for NH90 helicopters as it firms 2014 deal". Flight Global. 14 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018. 
  21. ^ http://www.airbus.com/newsroom/press-releases/en/2018/03/state-of-qatar-signs-contract-for-28-nh90-multirole-helicopters.html
  22. ^ "World Air Forces 1985 pg. 76". flightglobal.com. Retrieved 4 May 2015.