Qatar’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Dr Khalid Mohammed Al Attiyah, visited Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, on March 28, to fly in and be briefed on the F-15E Strike Eagle. Qatar is in the midst of a huge defense equipment upgrade, which currently includes the procurement of 24 Dassault Rafales (already on contract) plus up to 72 F-15QA Advanced Eagles. A US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notification last November said ‘a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for F-15QA aircraft with weapons and related support, equipment, and training. The estimated cost is $21.1 billion.’
The reality is that Qatar is looking to potentially buy three separate fleets of new fighters to replace its Mirage 2000s. This is thought likely to comprise of 24 each of Rafales, F-15QAs and possibly Eurofighter Typhoons.
Lt Col Dave Haworth, Office of Military Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Qatar, escorted the Qatari minister during his visit to Seymour Johnson. ‘The Strike Eagle has contributed to destroying or damaging over 31,900 targets as part of Operation ‘Inherent Resolve,’ said Haworth. Col Christopher Sage, 4th Fighter Wing commander, added that US and coalition aircraft have conducted more than 16,600 strikes in Iraq and Syria in support of OIR.
Following briefings, his Excellency and Brig Gen Eisa Rashid Al Mohannadi, chairman of the ‘Qatar Eagle Committee’, flew back seat orientation rides in resident 334th FS F-15Es.