Qatari Airforce has been presented with a new version of the F-15 fighter, the F-15QA, by Boeing. It is produced by the US and Boeing, in partnership with Qatar.
The rollout happened on 26th August in a ceremony at Boeing’s headquarters in the US state of Missouri, with the Qatari Minister of State for Defense Affairs Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah in attendance alone with senior Boeing executives and the US force officers.
Amid the ceremony, the aircraft name was revealed to be Ababil, after a bird of prey from Islamic history.
The F-15QA Ababil is ready to soar.
Named for the Ababil bird — Qatari guardian of the skies — we're honored to witness the @MOD_Qatar Emiri Air Force officially name and induct the F-15QA into service. pic.twitter.com/LRALltgPlv
— Boeing Defense (@BoeingDefense) August 25, 2021
“The rollout of the F-15QA is momentous, not just in terms of capability but also in terms of the enhanced partnership it represents,” Aljazeera quoted General Greg Guillot, commander of 9th Air Force, as saying at the event.
He added, “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 partners continued focus on building interoperability and combined readiness.”
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The agreements to buy 36 of these warplanes from the US and other European nations were signed following a political dispute between Qatar and its neighboring countries namely, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain, in 2017.
After the nation was isolated by its neighbors via a blockade, Qatar decided to sign an agreement with Boeing and the US government to buy at least 30 latest tech fighter jets to defend itself.
“The Qatar F-15QA program further enhanced next-generation technologies in the advanced F-15 such as the fly-by-wire flight controls, an all-glass digital cockpit and contemporary sensors, radar and electronic warfare capabilities,” said program VP Prat Kumar.
“Driven by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, these aircraft represent a transformational leap for the F-15.”
Boeing describes the F-15QA as the most advanced F-15 thus far, saying it will equip the Qatar Emiri Air Force with “more speed, range, and payload than any fighter in the world.”
The fighter plane includes a munition targeting system made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. The version made specifically for the Qatari air force is fixed with a range of advanced munitions and missiles, including Raytheon AIM-9X Sidewinder air-to-air missiles, long-range AIM-120 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and JDAM precision bombs.
The plane also has a Sniper targeting pod and a Tiger Eyes infrared search and track system.
The first 15 pilots from the Qatari Air Force who underwent training to operate the planes were introduced at the launch ceremony. The first F-15QA will be reportedly supplied to Qatar at the end of the year.