Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) took delivery of the second batch of five Dassault Rafale fighter jets it ordered from French aircraft manufacturer, Dassault Aviation.
The Rafales left Bordeaux/Mérignac in France for Tamim Air Base in Qatar on July 3 and were accompanied by QEAF C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifter.
Out of the five aircraft delivered, three were single seat version designated Rafale EQ (QA217, QA219 and QA221) and two were two-seat version designated Rafale DQ (QA202 and QA203).
Qatar has initially signed a contract with Dassault Aviation 24 Rafales in May 2015 and an additional 12 Rafales were ordered in December 2017. If the country proceeds with the 36 additional option, its total number of Rafale jets with it will go up to 72, making it the biggest operator of Rafale fighter jets in the world after France.
The first Rafale jet was formally delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force during a ceremony at the Dassault Aviation’s Merignac facility on Feb. 6 this year, and the first batch of five Rafale fighter jets arrived in Qatar on June 5.
Qatar has separately inked deals with UK-based company BAE Systems to procure 24 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets for £5 billion, and with American company Boeing for 36 F-15QA (Qatar Advanced) Eagle fighter jets for a cost of US$12 billion.