Considering the capabilities of its armed forces, Qatar has plenty of resources to ensure the surveillance and protection of its airspace during the football World Cup, which it will host from November 21.
Indeed, the emirate, which covers only 11,571 km², has THAAD, Patriot and NASAMS air defense systems. [sans compter les missiles sol-air Mistral, Stinger, etc] and a – varied – fleet of combat aircraft, including around thirty Rafale, F-15QA [9 étaient en service en décembre 2021 sur les 36 commandés] and 12 Mirage 2000-5s.
On the other hand, with regard to the surveillance of its maritime approaches [563 km], it seems a little more complicated, even if the Qatari naval force is equipped with corvettes and offshore patrol boats supplied by the Italian manufacturer Fincantieri. They are probably not numerous enough. At least, one might think…
In terms of security, the challenge will be above all to welcome the million supporters expected during the Minde Cup, while Qatar has – officially – only 2.4 million inhabitants. Which means having some anti-hooliganism and crowd control skills. And all against a background of terrorist risk. This is how Doha requested assistance from Paris, which responded favorably [à noter que cette requête a été faite avant l’affaire de la finale de la Ligue des Champions au Stade de France, ndlr].
If, according to a parliamentary report published in December 2021, it was considered to send an E-3F Awacs from the Air & Space Force [AAE] in Qatar, it seems that this is no longer a question at present… On the other hand, French aid will focus on the command and control of security devices, crisis communication, tactics and techniques for managing order public or the surveillance, protection of sports sites and enclosures [dont la lutte ant-drone] or the prevention of nuclear, radiological, biological and chemical risks and the response to these threats.
Be that as it may, and as announced by London last May, the Royal Air Force [RAF] will contribute to the protection of the airspace of the emirate during the world cup. Thus, four Eurofigter Typhoons from 12 Squadron have just been deployed for this purpose at Dukhan Air Base.
« We will provide deterrents and threat response capability when needed, » said Commander Luke Wilkinson, who leads the British detachment. “When we look at the degree of instability and uncertainty in the world at the moment, it is really important to have a strong and stable partnership with a country like Qatar. I’m really happy with how it’s going,” also commented General Richard Yates, Qatar Typhoon Program Manager.
In May, the British government had put forward the experience acquired during the London Olympics to justify the aid given to Qatar. And to also underline the importance of the arms contracts signed by the emirate, including that relating to the purchase of 24 Eurofighter Typhoons. Note that the first four copies were recently delivered to the Air Force of the Emir of Qatar [QEAF]…
However, in addition to France and the United Kingdom, Italy – whose national team did not qualify for the final phase – has also been approached by Doha.
Thus, within the framework of Operation Oryx, led by General Giuseppe Bossa, commander of the « Sassari » brigade, the transalpine armed forces will send to Qatar 560 soldiers, 46 vehicles, the patrol boat Paolo Thaon di Revel, an underwater drone marine REMUS as well as EOD capabilities [neutralisation d’explosifs]CBRN [nucléaire, radiologiquen biologique et chimique] and anti-drone warfare. These measures […] will be tasked with competing and assisting the emirate’s armed forces in overseeing a safe and smooth running of the sporting event,” the Italian General Staff explained.
Other countries will contribute to the protection of the World Cup, including the United States and Turkey, which each have a permanent base in the emirate.