BEIRUT — With the 2022 FIFA World Cup just months away, Qatar has delivered the first batch of Eurofighter Typhoons. This is the latest major acquisition by the Gulf nations and will help increase security at the Games.
The planes were part of a grand ceremony held at Dohan/Tamim Air Force Base on the western side of the peninsula a few days ago, also featuring F-15QAs, NH-90 tactical transport helicopters and their naval counterparts, and Rafale fighter jets. Did.
Typhoon will become part of the Joint Typhoon Squadron, also known as 12 Squadron, which operates in partnership with the United Kingdom. The squadron will provide aviation security for the Cup, which he will hold from 21 November until 18 December.
“We are delighted that Typhoon’s Joint Squadron with the Qatar Emirati Air Force (QEAF) will be patrolling the airspace during the tournament,” UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said in May.
The aircraft, which will have a counter-terrorism mission, will make the latest addition to the security cordon that Qatar is building.
شهدنا اليوم وصول أول دفعة من طائرات يوروفايتر تايفون “الذاريات” والتي تأتي ضمن مسيرة بلادنا المتواصلة في تطوير قواتنا الجوية الأميرية القطرية، وتعزيزها بأحدث أنواع العتاد والطائرات المقاتلة وفق أعلى المعايير العالمية. pic.twitter.com/qbbyYMEzAA
— تميم بن حمد (@TamimBinHamad) August 27, 2022
Security threats to Qatar have not been widely reported, and Middle East analyst Andrea Krieg said Qatar maintains friendly relations even in a volatile region. “This makes it less likely that country officials and agents will try to exploit the World Cup for nefarious activities,” he said, adding that the country could respond to asymmetric threats like terrorist attacks. (even if the UK admits them) cannot be ruled out.”).
Still, such a high-profile event requires planning for the worst, and Qatar is working with international partners to acquire high-tech capabilities and strengthen air, sea and ground security. I’m here. Method is as follows.
above the sky
The 12 squadrons have been conducting regular exercises in Qatar since they were formed as a combined squadron in June 2020, and the World Cup deployment coincided with pre-planned deployments, the UK Defense Ministry said. .
The Typhoon itself is the result of a contract signed in December 2017 between Qatar and BAE Systems to procure 24 jets and nine Hawk Mk 167 altitude training in a total $8 billion deal.
Italian company Leonardo contributes to both the airframe and avionics of the QEAF Eurofighter Typhoon. Typhoons include the ECRS Mk0 radar and the Praetorian DASS, designed to provide protection against air-to-air and surface-to-air threats by monitoring and proactively responding to the operational environment, and the PIRATE IRST (Passive Infrared Airborne equipped with a tracking device. – infrared search and tracking), both led by Leonardo.
Qatar’s airspace will be protected by Leonardo’s low-level aerial surveillance and defense system. This consists of Kronos his radar network and associated command and control center. The Italian company is responsible for all air traffic management electronics and meteorological equipment at Hamad International Airport, ensuring passenger arrivals for players and spectators at the World Cup.
The country also receives a delivery of NH90 helicopters from Leonardo thanks to a deal in August 2018. For them, the French company Thales has developed ENR radar, avionics, EW CATS (electronic warfare, a compact airborne threat surveyor for helicopters), radio, and transmission datalinks.
To date, Leonardo has delivered 6 of its 28 NH90 helicopters for both naval and tactical use, and the program is well underway. These additions to Qatar’s Air Force are operational, with flight crews and technicians undergoing extensive training with the support of the Italian Army and Italian Navy.
“Qatar has the largest air force of any territory in the world, so the QEAF is well equipped to counter or deter serious threats to its airspace,” said King’s College. Krieg, Senior Lecturer in London and CEO of MENA. Analytica, a London-based strategic risk consulting firm focused on the wider Middle East, added that NATO will also support the QEAF.
Speaking of the Navy, for Qatar, keeping threats from the sea out is as important as securing airspace. That is why Qatar has signed a number of contracts in recent years to procure advanced vessels with radar and surveillance capabilities.
As part of its investment in security, the Qatar Navy ordered four Al Zubarah-class corvettes, a landing platform dock and two offshore patrol vessels, in a deal worth nearly $5 billion in 2016 by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. built. The fourth Corvette was launched at the Muggiano (La Spezia) shipyard in late April this year.
Each of the seven new ships will have Leonardo’s combat and surveillance systems, in particular the Leonardo 3D AESA Grand Chronos Naval Radar, IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) interrogators and transponders, and a command management system consisting of an IRST surveillance and tracking suite. Equipped.
Earlier this year, during Dimdex 2022, the Qatar Navy signed a new contract with Leonardo to develop the country’s first Naval Operations Center (NOC) for military service. The center will enable the Navy to monitor and control Qatar’s territorial waters, exclusive economic zone, and adjacent waters. The center, which controls radar and sea-based tracking in real time, will include an electronic warfare system, though it is currently unknown if it will be up and running in time for the game.
on the ground
Aircraft and ships may be used to defend much of the country during the game, but of particular concern to security experts are the targets of asymmetric threats such as terrorism and uncontrolled crowds. It is clear that it is the match itself.
“As with any large sporting event, the biggest risk during the World Cup is related to crowd control,” said Krieg. “With large crowds dispersed in only one city, like Doha, there are several risks of crowd mobilization, riots and potential fighting. have a nature.
“Qatar’s law enforcement agencies are working with multiple partners around the world to train for such an event and are well prepared when it comes to crowd control.”
Krieg said the cup would attract citizens from rival and hostile countries such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran, increasing the risk of incidents.
“This could lead to animosity in Doha,” he said.
To that end, the most important technologies Qatar is expected to employ include intelligence gathering, surveillance, and intelligence systems.
Qatar has developed a “massive integrated surveillance network with audio-visual sensors, drones and CCTV that feeds the National Security Center, where potential risks are assessed and threats materialized,” Clegg said. These Thales airborne and maritime systems are also integrated on the ground, Krieg said.
Right near the stadium, Qatar is working with Utah-based Fortem Technologies to combat drones, the company announced in July.
Fortem CEO Timothy Bean told Breaking Defense that the company’s system, known as SkyDome, is “the best in the world at delivering dynamic defeat when collateral damage must be minimized.” increase. This system includes his DroneHunter, which, as the name suggests, literally tracks other UAVs in the sky, launching special nets to tether threats and dragging them to designated locations. get rid of them.
Bean declined to answer questions about the number of systems deployed to protect stadiums and games, and did not elaborate on testing of the systems in Qatar or interoperability with the country’s existing radar and data-sharing networks. I didn’t clarify. Rather, he simply stated that Qatar does everything in its power to ensure a great experience, and that it “plans carefully for the safety and security of its guests.”
Mr. Krieg believed that defense of drones, as part of air and sea security readiness, would not see much action, with the possible exception of rogue civilian drones.
“Anti-drone systems are in place, but will be directed to civilian drone use where applicable,” he said. “There are parameters for not using drones around and inside stadiums where the use of drones is prohibited.”
On a more exotic but potentially far more lethal threat, NATO said in June that the joint Slovak-NATO CBRN defense would provide a “combat against threats posed by chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials.” It announced that it would provide support, including training. centered on the Czech Republic.
Other support includes training in VIP protection and counter IED functionality, courtesy of Romania.
Finally, there were reports last week that Pakistan could provide troops to Qatar to bolster security.
In light of all of the above, in Krieg’s view, threats to the Games in 2022 are relatively few, whether from nation states, agents, terrorist groups, or simply rowdy crowds.