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Qatar Emiri Air Force

Fuelled by natural gas, tiny Qatar has developed into a middle power in the Middle East. National ambitions are high and the country continues to develop its economy and armed forces. What better day to witness national progress than December 18th, which is Qatar’s national day? Celebrating the rise to power of the emirate’s Al-Thani royal family, many events are organized around this date.

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One of the most spectacular events is the national parade, which is organized along Doha’s corniche (sea boulevard) and attracted thousands of Qatari nationals and immigrants working in the country. On this day, tradition and modernity are seen together for the sake of the future.

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Aviagraphers visited the 2015 national day, to witness the air parade, which clearly showed Qatar’s ambitions. As usual the show is opened with the national banner, showing the national colors as well as the ruler’s portrait.

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US Army Apaches attack helicopters and French Air Force Rafale fighters were thrown into the line-up, the latter even zapped with Qatari flags to underline the contract for Rafale fighters, which had been signed the day before.

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To built-up a credible air force, one needs to train pilots. To facilitate training, the Qatari Emiri Air Force took delivery of two dozen state-of-the-art Pilatus PC-21 trainers, which are also proudly used for aerobatics, as shown here!

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French-built Gazelles are hopping on their last legs, with more modern types ordered to replace them in the near future. We can only dream of Apache helicopters wearing the same attractive colors…


The Agusta Westland AW139 signals the modernization of the helicopter fleet, and are used for a wide array of tasks, that suits this multifunctional design. Three of these took part in the air parade, and two are shown here.

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