Qatar has received the first batch of the new generation F-15 combat aircraft developed in conjunction with the Gulf state by the US and Boeing.
The ceremony, which was attended by Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, took place at Boeing’s headquarters in the US state of Missouri on Wednesday.
The aircraft are being purchased for defense objectives, according to the minister, and the new aircraft have superior combat capabilities and are faster than the earlier F-15s.
“The rollout of the F-15QA is momentous, not just in terms of capability but also in terms of the enhanced partnership it represents,” commander of 9th Air Force, General Greg Guillot, said at the ceremony.
“The relationship the United States shares with Qatar is critical to the stability and security of the central command area of responsibility, and we are grateful for our coalition partner’s continued focus on building interoperability and combined readiness,” he added.
After a political spat with its neighbors – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain – Qatar signed agreements to buy jets from the US and other European countries in 2017. After rival Gulf states put a blockade on Doha, it reached an agreement with Washington and Boeing to buy at least 30 planes with cutting-edge technology.
The new F-15QA fighter jets are said to be among the best in terms of speed and maneuverability during offensive and defensive missions, according to experts.
During pre-delivery pilot training, which began earlier this year, Boeing is providing maintenance and logistics support for the Qatar F-15QA program.
According to local US media reports, Boeing will also develop and maintain an aircrew and maintenance training center for the Qatar Emiri Air Force at Al Udeid airbase through 2024, as well as provide in-country parts and logistics support after aircraft are delivered.