Qatar has signed an agreement with the United States for the procurement of Boeing F-15 Eagle combat aircraft, the country's government announced on 14 June.
The USD12 billion deal was signed during a visit to Washington, DC, by the Minister of State for Defense Affairs, Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, and by US Secretary of Defense James Mattis. No numbers were given in the disclosure by the Qatar Government Communications Office, but reports say the country is to receive up to 36 F-15QA (Qatar Advanced)-variant Eagles. No timeline for deliveries was disclosed.
Qatar was cleared to buy 72 F-15QA Eagles and related weapons, support, and training for USD21 billion in November 2016 following years of delay supposedly over concerns raised by Israel. While 72 F-15QAs were approved, it is believed that a portion of this requirement has already been satisfied with 24 Dassault Rafales that were ordered in May 2015. Along with the Rafales, the F-15QAs will replace the Qatar Emiri Air Force's current 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighters.
The Advanced Eagle is the latest variant of the Boeing-made fighter that has also been ordered by Saudi Arabia as the F-15SA. This variant improves on previous models in that it features two additional underwing weapons stations (increasing the number from nine to 11); the option of a large area display cockpit; fly-by-wire controls; the Raytheon AN/APG-82(V)1 or AN/APG-63(V)3 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar; General Electric GE F-110-129 engines; digital Joint Helmet - Mounted Cueing Systems in both cockpits; and a digital electronic warfare system among other enhancements.
In a typical escort configuration, the Advanced Eagle can carry 16 AIM-120 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs); four AIM-9X Sidewinder short-range missiles; and two High-Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (HARMs). For precision strike it can carry 16 Small-Diameter Bombs (SDBs); four AMRAAMs; one 2,000 lb Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM); two HARMs; and two drop tanks.
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