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Qatar changes tack by basing M-346s in-country for training

26th February 2022 - 09:00 GMT | by Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo in Milan

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Leonardo M-346 aircraft. (Photo: Leonardo)

Leonardo has confirmed a long-speculated order from Qatar for six M-346 trainer aircraft, which will fly alongside the country’s diverse fighter jet fleet — but will the small Gulf country have sufficient logistical abilities, training footprint and personnel to make effective use of it?

Over the last decade, the Qatari Emirati Air Force (QEAF) has undergone what is likely to be one of the largest air force modernisation and expansion programmes in the world.

But now, with such a large fleet and a small population, Qatar is faced with the challenge of finding adequate manpower.

Currently, the QEAF is said to require at least 160 pilots to manage its fighter jet fleet. To meet the vast demand for new combat pilots, industry sources in Italy told Shephard that Qatar had signed a number of cooperation agreements with other countries to integrate and sustain various

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Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo

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Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo


Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a freelance security and defense reporter based in Milan, Italy. She covers …

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