US-Qatar Friendship Event bonds strategic partners before F-15QA arrival Published Aug. 31, 2020 By Staff Sgt. Kayla White 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- U.S. Air Forces Central Command conducted a bi-lateral key leader engagement known as the Qatar-AFCENT Friendship Event Aug. 23-24, 2020, at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The event brought together members of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, 332d AEW and the Qatar Emiri Air Force in a continued commitment to maintaining a strong relationship between the U.S. and Qatar. During the event, Qatari and U.S. pilots, weapon systems officers, and maintainers learned about the F-15QA, a dual-role fighter and the most advanced version of the F-15 Eagle to date. Together, crews engaged in mission planning before the U.S. pilots took Qatari leadership on an F-15E Strike Eagle familiarization flight. “It’s exciting we were able to get out here and fly F-15 Strike Eagles with the Qatar Emiri Air Force and help set conditions for their first aircraft deliveries next summer,” said Maj. Gen. Michael Koscheski, U.S. AFCENT deputy commander. “This event allowed us to establish a good cross talk about what it means to employ such a versatile aircraft and demonstrates our strong partnership as we find better ways to enhance training, integrate capabilities and build capacity.” The event also allowed U.S. members to tour and learn about the Mirage and Rafale fighter jets, which have served as the core of Qatar’s fighter fleet prior to its acquisition of the F-15QA. Qatar bought 36 F-15QAs with staged delivery by summer 2021 and committed to developing Al Udeid AB to accommodate F-15’s and other fighter jets After returning from his F-15E familiarization flight, The Commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, Staff MG Pilot Salem Bin Hamad Al-Nabet, , beamed. “I have to say it is one of the best aircraft,” said the fighter pilot. “It’s a powerful aircraft that I hope to fly myself next time. It will serve as the backbone of my Air Force and I am looking forward to its delivery.” Al-Nabet also communicated the significance of partnering with the U.S. for events like QAFE. “It is important that we are able to get together as friends and to share information,” he said. “This is a message for those who may doubt the strong relationship that we have.” The unity between the U.S. and Qatar is built on a shared vision to remain prepared to defend and preserve the security, peace and stability of the region.