Number 12 Squadron – why Qatar was chosen as First Benefactor

Number 12 Squadron - why Qatar was chosen as First Benefactor

The 12 Squadron was re-established on 24th July 2018 and has benefited the Qatari’s greatly in both training capabilities and branding.
A highly “agile aircraft, 123 RF Typhoon is designed to be a supremely effective dogfighter in combat” and is manufactured by a consortium of three leading aerospace corporations – Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica) involving the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain.
A flight global that flexed its muscles in the skies on the National Day was just a glimpse into the future and a taste of things to come. In late 2022, the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) will add to its growing arsenal a fleet of 24 Eurofighter Typhoons, nine Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers and will enjoy a six-year availability support service as part of a deal signed between the Government of Qatar and the UK’s BAE Systems in late 2017. It cost Qatar six billion euros.
The Typhoons in Doha skies came from the RAF’s 12 Squadron, which was reformed in July, 2018, as a joint RAF/QEAF squadron, a move made to temporarily integrate Qatari air and ground crews in order to provide training.
The Typhoon is truly an enigma. Its millions of lines of software codes and advanced weapons system created significant challenge for the Qatari forces, but the vision has begun to take shape.
Four Qatari pilots have completed their conversion to the Eurofighter Typhoon and have joined No.12 Squadron after logging multiple sorties totalling several hours. The flying rate will continue to increase before full throttle is achieved.
While the delivery of the aircrafts and the training of pilots to fly them is on track, it continues to astonish defense analysts how Qatar pulled off such a gratifying deal under favourable terms and conditions, especially when is seen in the context of another deal involving the same product and services that neighbours Kuwait entered into with the Eurofighter consortium.
Undersold and overcharged
A comparison and a look at the hard numbers is quite revealing.
While Qatar is buying 24 Eurofighters for six billion euros, Kuwait is paying eight billion euros for 28. When broken down, Qatar is paying 250 million per aircraft while Kuwait ended up agreeing to pay 285 million euros per aircraft. To make the deal sweeter, Qatar will additionally receive nine Hawk trainer aircrafts without any additional cost.
The offset cost for Qatar amounts to 72 million euros while for Kuwait, it’s 190m euros.
Kuwait will be spending a little over 2.3 billion euros for logistical support for three years while Qatar will pay 1.3b euros and will get an extended support for six years.
For training equipments, Qatar paid 124m euros and received eight simulators while Kuwait is paying 207m euros and is getting only three simulators.
It’s evident that the Eurofighters either gave a huge rebate to Qatar or they amplified the cost to Kuwait.
Crisis and opportunity
The pivotal role played by Qatar’s Armed Forces in securing this deal for the country is of great significance and a matter of curiosity.
The Qatari’s either had a magic wand, or they offered favours and commissions to the employees and executives of the BAE to ensure Qatar spent less for more.
Or, perhaps, they provided a lifeline to a dwindling company and were rewarded for it. The contract was the largest UK order for the Eurofighter in a decade and brought huge relief to BAE’s aerospace workers who were facing imminent threat to production in 2022 if no new order came.
Whatever may be the case, Qatar benefited from a bargain that may not be the deal of the century, but is definitely one that’s hard to come by too often.