On 1st April the Royal Air Force celebrated its 100th birthday. To commemorate this, the Defence Section at the British Embassy organised a dinner on Thursday 26 April at the Shangri-La Hotel. The guest of honour in attendance was His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohammad Al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of State for Defence Affairs, who stopped by to convey his personal best wishes and congratulations.
The RAF was the first unified air force in the world to be independent of Army and Navy control; since its formation, it has been at the forefront in resolving crises, conflict and, importantly, humanitarian operations to save lives.
Qatari friends and partners were invited to attend the dinner which was hosted by Air Marshal Stuart Atha, the RAF’s Deputy Commander Operations and HE Staff Major General (pilot) Mubarak Mohammed Al-Khayareen, Commander of the Qatar Amiri Air Force. Senior airmen from the United Kingdom and Qatar gathered together to reflect on a century of RAF achievement and to look forward to the next 100 years, which will begin with the formation of a joint UK/Qatari Typhoon Squadron. In a year of celebration for the RAF, this event is the most senior taking place outside of the UK.
Attendees at the dinner included His Excellency Ajay Sharma, Air Chief Marshall Sir Glenn Torpy, Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, Air Marshal Stuart Atha, HE Staff Major General (pilot) HE Mubarak Mohammed Al-Khayareen, Major General Ali Abdulla Al-Muhannadi, Air Commodore Patrick O’Donnell, Air Commodore Roddy Dennis, Brigadier Yousef Shaheen Al-Ateeq, Colonel Mohammad Al-Mansoori, and Lieutenant Colonel Faisel Al-Ghanem. Also attending were senior members of BAE Systems and RAF personnel deployed at Al-Udeid Air Base, including Senior Aircraftsman Tom Elwick, the most junior airman on the Base.
Air Marshal Stuart Atha, RAF Deputy Commander Operations, who said:
it is a great pleasure to host such a significant event here in Doha.
Throughout its first 100 years, the RAF has been innovative and involved in operations across the globe, and I don’t see that changing over the next century.
Key to our continued success will be partnerships and none is more important than that between the RAF and the Qatari Air Force. The joint Typhoon squadron is an exciting opportunity to develop relationships and to deliver a world class capability.
I am delighted to be in Doha and to have the opportunity to commemorate the RAF’s past, celebrate its present and to look to the future with optimism and confidence in the company of senior Qatari aviators.