HH the Emir of the State of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani visited Thursday the building of the Qatari Rafale Squadron in the Mont-de-Marsan airbase in France.
His Highness was accompanied by HE French Defense Minister Florence Parly to get a briefing on the nature of joint-defense work and the training program for the Emiri as part of the QRS project in France, according to Qatar News Agency (QNA).
HH the Emir listened to a briefing from Brigadier General (Pilot) Salem Abdullah Al Dosari on the most prominent operations and fighting capabilities of the squadron and the joint training program. The briefing also touched on what was achieved in 2015 as well as the future plans.
HH the Emir was also briefed on the Qatari Rafale plan, and witnessed a presentation on how to fly and maintain it by officers in the Qatari Armed Forces.
He also met with Qatari Armed Forces officers who are part of the Rafale squadron, currently receiving training on piloting and maintaining the planes in cooperation with the French Air Force. His Highness also visited the operations centers.
He was accompanied on the visit by an official delegation and a number of Qatari military leaders of the Military Attaché from the Qatari embassy in Paris.
The Mont-de-Marsan Air Base (Base Aérienne 118 Mont-de-Marsan) is a front-line French Air Force (Armée de l’Air) fighter base located approximately 2 km north of Mont-de-Marsan, in the Landes department of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France.
The airport resides at an elevation of 62 meters above mean sea level. It has one runway designated 09/27 with an asphalt surface measuring 3,603 meters in length.
The Airbase is home to two squadrons of Dassault Rafale, the most advanced French fighter aircraft. The base includes Centre d’Essais des Matériels Aéronautiques - CEMA (the French air force military experimentation and trials organization), an air defense radar command reporting centre, and an air defense control training site.
On Friday, the Emir of Qatar met French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris as part of his official visit to the French Republic.
The conference was held right before the quarter-final match between France and Uruguay and both heads of state were keen to mark the occasion.
“We spoke about a number of issues, but we have a problem about time, because we have only 30 minutes before the match and you have questions, but I only wanted to say that the relationship is very very strong between the two countries and we are very proud of this relationship,” said Al-Thani.
Al-Thani is also the owner of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) football and handball club and through his Qatar Investment Authority has invested heavily in sports at home and in France. Qatar already hosted the handball World Cup and the cycling World Championship, and will host the 2019 World Championships in Athletics, the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 World Aquatics Championships.
Macron was grateful of the investments made in France and said: “Your commitment to French sport is a chance for France.”