Qatar keen on $2.5bn US helicopters deal

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Seahawk military helicopters in action.

Seahawk military helicopters in action.

Qatar is interested in a $2.5bn deal to buy military hardware including 22 Seahawk helicopters, according to the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency.

It said it has notified Congress of a possible military sale to the Government Qatar with an option to expand the helicopter fleet at a later date.

The sale includes 22 Seahawk multi-mission helicopters, 12 fitted with the armed helicopter modification kit, the US agency said in a statement.

The possible order would also include 48 T-700 GE 401C Engines (44 installed and four spare) with an option to purchase an additional six Seahawks and 13 T-700 GE 401C Engines.

The estimated cost of the order is $2.5bn, the statement added.

Communication equipment, spare engine containers, support equipment, spare and repair parts, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment would also be included in the order.

"This proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that has been, and continues to be, an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East," the Agency said.

"Qatar is a strategic partner in maintaining stability in the region. The acquisition of these helicopters will allow for greater interoperability with US forces, providing benefits for training and possible future coalition operations in support of shared regional security objectives," it added.

The statement said Qatar will use the enhanced capability to strengthen its homeland defence.

The Seahawk helicopters will supplement and eventually replace the Qatar Air Force's aging maritime patrol helicopters.

The prime contractors will be Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation in Stratford, Connecticut, Lockheed Martin in Owego, New York, and General Electric in Lynn, Massachusetts.

The possible order comes on the back of news earlier this month that the Qatar Government was interested in buying military hardware including 12 Black hawk helicopters.

The possible sale, worth $1.1bn, to Qatar would also include 26 engines, 15 common missile warning systems, 15 laser detecting sets, 15 radar signal detecting sets, 26 machine guns, and 26 night vision goggles.

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