Qatar is looking to buy US$9.9bn worth of missiles and defence equipment from the US, Pentagon officials announced, just days after it placed an order for US$6.5bn worth of missile-defence systems.
The US Defence Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress on Tuesday of the possible sale to Qatar. The US$9.9bn deal “will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by improving the security of an important ally which has been, and continues to be, a force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East,” the statement said.
The specifications of the latest order include 11 PATRIOT Configuration-3 Modernised Fire Units, 11 AN/MPQ-65 Radar Sets, 11 AN/MSQ-132 Engagement Control Systems, 30 Antenna Mast Groups, 44 M902 Launching Stations, 246 PATRIOT MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missile-TBM (GEM-T) with canisters, 2 PATRIOT MIM-104E GEM-T Test Missiles, 768 PATRIOT Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) Missiles with canisters and 10 PAC-3 Test Missiles with canisters.
Earlier this week, US authorities notified Congress of the potential sale to Qatar of two Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) fire units, 12 launchers, 150 interceptors and other military equipment worth an estimated US$6.5bn. THAAD is a US Army system designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.
Gulf countries are spending billions of dollars on defence procurement amid increasing tensions with Iran over its nuclear programme.
Foreign weapon sales by the United States tripled last year to US$66.3bn as Gulf states sought to build up military supplies amid growing tensions with the Islamic Republic, according to a study by the US Congressional Research Service.
The prime contractors for the Qatar orders will be Raytheon Corporation in Andover, Maryland, and Lockheed-Martin in Dallas, Texas.
Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's number-one supplier by sales, in August said Saudi Arabia and close regional partners had shown interest in purchasing its advanced missile-defence system.
“Look, all of the [GCC] nations have an interest,” said Dennis Cavin, a company vice president for army and missile-defence programmes.