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Thu 17 Jul 2008 07:53 AM

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Qatar 'to buy humanitarian aircraft'

US Air Force chief says Qatar interested in acquiring the Boeing C-17, used for airlifts.

The United States is clearing the way for Qatar to buy Boeing Co's C-17 transport aircraft, a step toward more coordinated military and humantarian airlift capability worldwide, a senior U.S. Air Force official said Wednesday.

Qatar "has expressed an interest to acquire" the C-17, Bruce Lemkin, deputy under secretary of the Air Force for international affairs, said in an interview at the Farnborough International Airshow.

A high-wing, four-engine, T-tailed aircraft with a rear-loading ramp, the C-17 can carry large combat equipment and troops or humanitarian aid between continents to small austere airfields worldwide.

Qatari officials could not immediately be reached for comment. They are negotiating to buy two C-17s with an option for two more, a person official familiar with the matter said.

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