Qatar Emiri Air Force Through The Lens


Qatar's fleet of Mirage 2000 fighters are rarely seen, let alone photographed outside the desert kingdom. But Exercise Anatolian Eagle 14-2 in Turkey provided an opportunity to get these rare fighters in front of the lens.

Like most Middle Eastern air arms, the Qatar Emiri Air Force is extremely camera-shy.

With just 12 Dassault Mirage 2000s to protect the gas-rich desert kingdom, the aircraft rarely leave the country’s borders, where photography of military aircraft, or indeed aviation in general is strictly prohibited.

All Photos: Tony Osborne - Aviation Week 

But Qatar’s decision to take part in a major international exercise in Turkey in June, allowed photographers to get up close to these rarely seen machines.

Three years after the Qataris took part in the NATO-led Operation Unified Protector over Libya, the country decided to attend Exercise Anatolian Eagle 14-2, a coalition exercise out of Konya AB, Turkey.

With its location between Europe and the Middle East, Anatolian Eagle has proved to be a useful location for NATO and Middle Eastern air arms to train together. Recent years have seen attendance of aircraft from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

This year was no exception, along with aircraft from Turkey, Spain and U.K., Qatar was also joined by three F-16s from Jordan, but a highly anticipated deployment from Oman cancelled two weeks prior.

Qatar’s Mirage 2000-5 are operated by the 7th Air Superiority Squadron, which operates a mix of single-seat and twin-seat jets and all are optimized for the air defense mission but may also have a secondary strike role.

The future of the jets is uncertain however.

Back in late March, Doha announced a series of expensive defense procurements including tankers, airborne early warning aircraft and helicopters and a fighter order is believed to be just around the corner. Under current plans Qatar will increase the number of fighters it will buy by a factor of six, with plans for 72 new combat aircraft.

The French press has reported that the order will be for Rafale, but the true outcome remains unclear and the Qatari personnel present at Anatolian Eagle were reluctant to talk about anything, let alone the country’s future fighter.

Either way, its possible that Anatolian Eagle could be one of the last opportunities to get a Qatari Mirage 2000 in front of a camera lens, at least outside of that nation.

Please or Register to post comments.

What's Ares?

Aviation Week's defense blog

From The Archives

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016. In a series of blogs, our editors highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history.


Aug 27, 2015

Aviation Week Lifts Veil On Boeing B-52 Bomber (1952) 17

In 1952, Aviation Week provided the first details on the new Boeing B-52 bomber....More
Aug 14, 2015

Bonanza Travel Pays 3

The legendary Beechcraft Bonanza has an impressive production record, so perhaps the marketers back in 1949 were onto something when they coined the phrase "Bonanza travel pays."...More
Aug 14, 2015

Venerable Boeing 727 Prototype To Fly Again 29

The most famous 727, the prototype aircraft which would join United as N7001U, was delivered to the airline in October 1964 having served its time as a Boeing test aircraft....More
Aug 13, 2015

Aviation Week And The Bomb

Aviation News did not predict how nuclear weapons would change the world. But neither did anyone else....More
Aug 13, 2015

Collins Radar Takes The Ups And Downs Out Of Flying

Turbulence? Rockwell Collins had a solution for those bumpy rides in the early 80s with its WXR-700 Doppler Weather Radar....More
Blog Archive
Penton Corporate

Sponsored Introduction Continue on to (or wait seconds) ×