Qatar F15QA 1 640Qatar’s advanced F-15 named

Boeing, the Unites States Air Force (USAF) and the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF), celebrated the naming and rollout of Qatar’s advanced F-15, the F-15QA, at a ceremony in St. Louis (MO) on 25 August 2021. The F-15QA will be referred to as “Ababil”. Ababil squadron will likely be the designation of the unit that will operate the F-15QA, in line with Al Adiyat squadron for the QEAF Rafale DQ/EQ.

Quoting Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, commander of 9th Air Force: “The rollout of the F-15QA is momentous, not just in terms of capability but also in terms of the enhanced partnership it represents. 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”. 

Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president of the F-15 programme: “The Qatar F-15QA programme 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. Driven by digital engineering and advanced manufacturing, these aircraft represent a transformational leap for the F-15. The F-15QA will enhance the superiority of the QEAF with more speed, range and payload than any fighter in the world.”

Among other high ranking officials attending was His Excellency Major General Al-Raken (Pilot) Salem Hameed Aqeel Al-Nabad, Commander of the QEAF. Formerly operating the Mirage 2000-5,  he flew in a F-15QA mission in de days before the 25 August 2021.

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Interestingly, during the ceremony the “first” F-15QA is shown with Qatar serial QA500. Also some photos have recently appeared of QA500 and QA501 flying in formation with full colour roundels and a large Ababil (bird) on the vertical tails. Scramble wrongly assessed before the Qatari Eagles possibly would not receive “QA” serials and will continue to use the abbreviated USAF serial, as depicted on their horizontal tails. The full fiscal year serial 17-0001 was displayed as a small AF and 17 plus larger 001 on both vertical tails. Since 17-002 (and possibly 17-001 as well) are still without QEAF serials used in the test and certification programme, the tie-up with the QA500 and QA501 serials remain to be established.

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The first set of F-15QA jets are now getting ready to ferry to Qatar later in 2021, following the completion of pre-delivery pilot training. Boeing has been providing maintenance and logistics support, together with the USAF, for the QEAF during pre-delivery pilot training at Scott AFB (IL), which began in April 2021. In addition, Boeing will establish and operate an aircrew and maintenance training centre for the QEAF at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar through 2024, while also providing in-country spares and logistics support once aircraft are delivered.

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Formation photo: Boeing
Other photos: Boeing and Qatar MoD

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