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Fri 28 Mar 2014 02:12 AM

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Qatar announces military contracts worth $23bn

Gulf state accelerates military build-up; contracts include Boeing deal to buy 24 Apache helicopters

Qatar announces military contracts worth $23bn
(AFP/Getty Images)

Qatar announced contracts worth about $23 billion on Thursday to buy attack helicopters, guided missiles, tankers and other weapons from Boeing Co, Airbus and other arms makers as the Gulf state accelerates its military build-up.

The world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter announced deals with about 20 global companies, including firms from the United States which were awarded deals worth QR27.5 billion ($7.6 billion), said a spokeswoman for a Doha defence conference where the announcements were made.

The contracts were expected to include deals with Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others.

Qatar, and other Gulf Arab and Middle Eastern countries are looking to acquire new high-tech military equipment to protect themselves from neighbouring Iran and internal threats after the Arab Spring uprising.

Boeing confirmed that the announcement included a contract to buy 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and three Boeing 737 Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.

The deal for the helicopters was valued at QR8.9 billion, said the spokeswoman for the conference.

In Paris, France's Defence Ministry said Qatar had agreed to buy 22 NH90 military helicopters from a unit of European aerospace group Airbus worth 2 billion euros ($2.76 billion) and two Airbus-made refuelling tankers.

NHIndustries is 62.5 percent owned by Airbus's Eurocopter helicopter unit, 32 percent owned byAgustaWestland, a unit of Italy Finmeccanica's and 5.5 percent by Stork Fokker.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), the US body which oversees foreign arms sales, had notified lawmakers in July 2012 of a possible sale of the Apache helicopters to Qatar.

A spokeswoman for the US agency had no immediate comment.

Washington has been keen to deepen its cooperation with Gulf nations, who have been long-standing allies, on missile defence and increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.

The Apache helicopters, fitted with longbow radar, are built by Boeing and used by the U.S. Army, Egypt, Greece,Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom, according to its website.

Non-Muslim 5 years ago

Having read a lot about working conditions of low-salary foreign labour recently, I would imagine that it could have been a very good idea to spend at least part of the $ 23 billion to improve these conditions. What for does such a small country like Qatar need such an arsenal of material of war? Who wants to invade Qatar?

Joseph George 5 years ago

Apart from the need, pray who is going to operate this equipment?Good for the armament companies and a nice way to give a boost to the US and Western Europe's economies!Repatriating the money got by selling gas.

HDee 5 years ago

I would like to voice a human protest with the following words :
Why do U require such arms when you can utilize the huge expenses involved in improving the live's and living conditions of your own brethren ! When on look's into the interior's of the nation, it is really degradable and not worth living for your own local people. I have mentioned all this as I had lived there and my say has nothing to do with politics nor religion.

tony 5 years ago

Funny they announced this just a few weeks after the tension between them and KSA.

Seems like a crack is appearing between the (P)GCC countries

Darwish 5 years ago

Are there enough Qataris in the whole world to operate this arsenal?
Is the size of Qatar enough to store all this equipment?
Just asking.