RAF and Royal Navy will help keep fans safe at Qatar World Cup, says MoD
The Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy will help keep fans safe at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, the Government has announced.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the RAF and the Navy will help to counter terrorism and other threats to the tournament, which is due to take place in the country from November 21 to December 18.
The announcement comes after the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, visited the UK last week and met Boris Johnson.
Making sure citizens from across the world can enjoy attending the World Cup, Britain and Qatar will join forces to provide air policing in the skies above the tournament
The move will include maritime security support from the Royal Navy, advanced venue search training, operational planning and command and control support, and further specialist advice.
The RAF will support counter-terrorism efforts through air security operations alongside the Qatari Emiri Air Force (QEAF), the MoD revealed.
The Joint Typhoon Squadron, also known as 12 Squadron, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and operated by RAF and QEAF pilots, will be deployed to tackle threats to supporters.
This joint squadron was formed in June 2020 and has exercised regularly in Qatar. The World Cup deployment coincides with one that was already planned, the MoD said.
QEAF is overseeing air security for the World Cup, delivering the majority of operations.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Making sure citizens from across the world can enjoy attending the World Cup, Britain and Qatar will join forces to provide air policing in the skies above the tournament.
“I am delighted that our joint squadron with the Qatari Emiri Air Force of Typhoons will patrol the airspace during the tournament.”
The MoD said Qatar is the only partner with whom the RAF operates joint squadrons – 11 Squadron Qatari Emiri Air Force, the Joint Hawk Training Squadron at RAF Leeming and 12 Squadron, the Joint Typhoon Squadron at RAF Coningsby.
These partnerships aim to give RAF personnel increased flying hours, provide the Qatari Emiri Air Force with access to RAF accredited training and see long-term investment in RAF infrastructure and training facilities.
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