Qatar Emiri Air Force
القوات الجوية الأميرية القطرية
seal of the Qatar Emiri Air Force
Founded1974; 50 years ago (1974)
TypeAir Force
RoleAerial Warfare
Size2,000 personnel[1]
Part ofQatar Armed Forces
Garrison/HQAl-Udeid Air Base
Chief of the Qatar Emiri Air ForceMajor General (Pilot) Jassem Mohamed Al-Mannai
Fin flash
Aircraft flown
FighterRafale, Typhoon, F-15QA
HelicopterNH90, AS350 Écureuil, AW139
Attack helicopterAH-64E Apache
TrainerSuper Mushshak, PC-21, Hawk 167, M-346 Master
TransportC-130J-30 Super Hercules, C-17 Globemaster III

The Qatar Emiri Air Force (Arabic: القوات الجوية الأميرية القطرية, romanizedAl-Quwwat Al-Jawiyah Al-Amiriyah Al-Qatariyah) (QEAF) is the air arm of the armed forces of the state of Qatar. It was established in 1974 as a small aerial support wing, although in modern times it has evolved into a potent, well equipped force. The QEAF is headquartered at Al-Udeid Air Base[2] in Doha; the current commander is Brigadier General (Pilot) Jassem Mohamed Al-Mannai.


In March 1967, 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.[3]

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 and 1984. 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.[4]

In 1991, the Qatari Air Force took part in the Gulf War on the side of the allies.[5]

In 2005, the Air Force participated in Exercise Eagle Resolve, along with Qatari medical services and emergency medical teams to build interoperability with their US counterparts. The US 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit took part in this exercise to validate the nation's crisis management plan prior to hosting the 2006 Asian Games.

Other acquisitions have been for an order of 59 AW139 helicopters.[6] 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 Medevac services.[7]

By 2010, the Qatar Emiri Air Force's personnel strength was at 2,100 and its equipment included the Mirage 2000-3EDA, the SA 342L Gazelle, and the C-17A Globemaster III. Aircraft either flew out of al-Udeid field or Doha International Airport and received 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 McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle and the Dassault Rafale to replace its current fighter inventory of Dassault Mirage 2000-5s.[8] In May 2015, the QAF awarded the contract for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters worth €6.3 billion ($7 billion).[9] [10]

In July 2012, the Qatar Air Force ordered 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, the QAF ordered four additional C-17s, to supplement the existing four delivered in 2009 and 2012.

In September 2016, the sale of up to 72 F-15QAs to Qatar was submitted to the US Congress for approval.[11][12] The deal (for 36 planes plus an option for 36 more),[13] valued at US$21.1 billion, was signed in November 2016.[14]

In September 2017, the QAF ordered 24 Typhoon fighter jets from the UK.[15] In December 2017, the QAF ordered 12 additional Rafale fighter jets from France, with an option for 36 more.[16]

In August 2018, Qatar announced the construction of a new air base to be named after Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. In addition to the new air base, Al Udeid Air Base and Doha International Air Base are to be expanded in order to accommodate aircraft on order.[17]



Current inventory

A Rafale fighter aircraft flies above Qatar after receiving fuel
An AW139 flies during the QEAF Lahoub exercise
A C-130J flies over head
Aircraft Origin Type Variant In service Notes
Combat Aircraft
Alpha Jet France / Germany light attack 6[20]
Mirage 2000 France multirole 5EDA 12[20] 3 5DDA variants provide conversion training
Dassault Rafale France multirole 36[20]
F-15E Strike Eagle United States strike fighter F-15QA 33[20]
Eurofighter Typhoon Germany / UK multirole 14 10 on order[20]
Aerial refueling
Airbus A330 MRTT France tanker / transport KC-30A 2 on order[21]
Boeing C-17 United States strategic airlifter 8[20] one operated with the Qatar Amiri Flight
C-130J Super Hercules United States tactical airlifter C-130J-30 4[20]
AH-64 Apache United States attack AH-64E 24[20]
NHIndustries NH90 European Union utility / transport 9 19 on order[20]
Aérospatiale Gazelle France armed scout 342 13[20]
AgustaWestland AW139 Italy utility 19[20]
AgustaWestland AW109 Italy utility 2[20]
Trainer Aircraft
BAE Hawk United Kingdom conversion trainer Hawk 167 9[20]
M-346 Master Italy advanced trainer 6[20]
Pilatus PC-21 Switzerland primary trainer 24[20]
Pilatus PC-24 Switzerland multi-engine trainer 2[20]
PAC Super Mushshak Pakistan primary trainer 8[22]
AgustaWestland AW169 Italy rotorcraft trainer 4[22][23]
Baykar Bayraktar TB2 Turkey surveillance 6 [24]


Previous notable aircraft operated consisted of the Mirage 2000, Westland Commando, Hawker Hunter, Dassault Mirage F1, Piper PA-34 Seneca, Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Westland Whirlwind, Britten-Norman Islander, and the Aérospatiale SA 330 Puma helicopter.[25][26][27]


Rank group General / flag officers Senior officers Junior officers Officer cadet
 Qatar Emiri Air Force
فريق أول‎‎
Fariq 'awal
ملازم أول
Mulazim awwal
Enlisted and NCOs
Rank group Senior NCOs Junior NCOs Enlisted
 Qatar Emiri Air Force
No insignia
وكيل اول
Wakil awwal
وكيل ثاني
Wakil thani
وكيل عريف
Wakil earif

See also


  1. ^ Qarjouli, Asmahan (26 April 2023). "Qatar second top military spender in Gulf region". Doha News. Retrieved 21 May 2023.
  2. ^ Cordesman, Anthony H.; Al-Rodhan, Khalid R. (2007). Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric Wars. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-275-99400-6.
  3. ^ Air International September 1988, p. 136.
  4. ^ Air International September 1988, pp. 136, 139.
  5. ^ "Gulf war fast facts". CNN Editorial Research. 2020. Archived from the original on 12 November 2020. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  6. ^ Qatar Armed Forces Sign Contract for 18 AW139 Helicopters. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
  7. ^ "The Qatar Armed Forces Order Three EMS-Configured AW139s" Archived May 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Agusta Westland 21 March 2011
  8. ^ "US Bid Delays Qatar Jet Competition" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 December 2019.
  9. ^ Corbet, Sylvie (30 April 2015). "France sells 24 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar in a $7 billion deal". Associated Press News. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF)". Archived from the original on 28 February 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  11. ^ "U.S. set to approve sales of Boeing fighters to Qatar, Kuwait - sources". Reuters. 1 September 2016. Archived from the original on 30 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Fighter Jet Sales to Gulf Allies Backed by U.S. After a Wait". Bloomberg. 29 September 2016. Archived from the original on 28 September 2016. Retrieved 29 September 2016.
  13. ^ "US Allows Qatar to Buy F-15s — and Seals a $19B Sale of Jetliners". Defense One. 11 October 2016.
  14. ^ "Qatar and Kuwait fighter deals signed off". Combat Aircraft. 18 November 2016. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
  15. ^ "UK to supply Qatar with 24 Typhoon fighter jets". Archived from the original on 17 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Visite d'Emmanuel Macron au Qatar: Doha achète 12 Rafale et 50 Airbus" (in French). France24. 7 December 2017. Archived from the original on 13 December 2017.
  17. ^ Binnie, Jeremy (29 August 2018). "Qatar announces new airbase". IHS Jane's 360. London. Archived from the original on 29 August 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
  18. ^ "Armed Forces Overview – Qatar Emiri Air Force". Archived from the original on 14 October 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  19. ^ "Royal Air Force and Qatar Emiri Air Force Expand Defence Partnership". Royal Air Force. Retrieved 25 June 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "World Air Forces 2024". Flight Global. 2023. Retrieved 6 February 2024.
  21. ^ "Airbus has been selected by Qatar to supply two A330 MRTT". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  22. ^ a b "World Air Forces 2023". Flight Global. Flightglobal Insight. 2022. Retrieved 27 December 2022.
  23. ^ "Qatar confirms AW169 order". 16 February 2021. Retrieved 6 February 2024.
  24. ^ "Turkey delivered Bayraktar TB2 drones to Qatari Emirati Armed Forces – Global Defense Corp". Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  25. ^ "World Air Forces 1985 pg. 70". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  26. ^ Bauer, Anne (19 November 2021). "Ares, la PME française qui rachète les Mirage du Qatar". Les Echos (in French). Retrieved 13 December 2021.
  27. ^ "QEAF Westland Commando helicopters to Pakistan". Scramble. Retrieved 31 January 2022.