(Republicaninformer.com)- The UK Royal Air Force recently took part in some of the largest mass firing of ASRAAM — Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missiles — in September with the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
Next month, that same Eurofighter aircraft is set to take part in yet another operation — this time in the Middle East. The aircraft is being called upon to protect the air over Qatar, the tiny Middle Eastern nation that is set to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup starting in late November.
Held every four years, the World Cup is one of the most high-profile and watched sporting events that takes place. While the Super Bowl attracts more fans than any other one single event, the World Cup is a tournament that takes place over a month, and involves countries from all over the world.
Because of the fact that there are so many nations involved — and because the tournament is going to be held in the Middle East this year — they want some added security just in case.
Back in August, the first Typhoon aircraft was delivered at a roll-out ceremony to the Qatar Armed Forces. That was done as part of an event that was hosted by the managing director air of BAE Systems Group, Cliff Robson.
Three of the first four of those aircraft were then ferried over to Qatar, located on the Persian Gulf. They were being sent there for training operations that were going to be held before the World Cup begins. Kickoff for the first match of the tournament is set for November 20, with the host nation Qatar participating.
Air security during all matches will be provided by the joint RAF-Qatari Typhoon squadron referred to as the 12 Squadron. Some of the members of that squadron, including is Leader Luke Wilkinson, provided air protection during the 2012 Olympic Games that were held in London.
As he said recently:
“It’s the absolute capstone of what we’re doing. It’s a great honor to be representing the RAF at a global event but also providing assurance and safe skies for the fans, for the participants and for the organizers of the World Cup in support of our colleagues. We fully understand the demands of a layered defense at a global event.”
Early in the year, roughly 200 personnel with the unit went on a deployment that lasted six months, and they took eight RAF Typhoons with them. The trip, called Project Thariyat, was meant as a training with Qatari counterparts.
It’s a further emphasis of the bilateral defense relationship that the UK and Qatar have formed. In fact, the 12 Squadron represent the first joint squadron the RAF has had with another country since back in World War II.
Qatar has spent billions of dollars building huge, eco-friendly stadiums to host countries from around the globe for the World Cup. They are the first Arab nation to host the World Cup and only the second Asian country to do so.