Qatar’s extensive fighter-recapitalisation effort continued on 10 December with the announcement that the Gulf state had signed for a number of Eurofighter Typhoons.
The announcement, which was made by Eurofighter consortium member and lead for the Qatari programme, BAE Systems, covers 24 Typhoons as well as support and spares. The deal is valued at GBP5 billion (USD6.7 billion), and will see the first of these Tranche 3 aircraft delivered in late 2022.
While not mentioned in this announcement, it is expected that an earlier disclosed intention to procure six BAE Systems Hawk jet trainer aircraft will be cemented shortly too. BAE Systems had not responded to a request for further information on the prospective Hawk sale by the time of publication.
The Qatari Ministry of Defence (MoD) noted in its report of the signing ceremony between Dr Khalid bin Mohammed Al-Attiyah and Gavin Williamson, “The meeting [between the two countries’ defence secretaries] also witnessed signing an agreement for building up a Joint Operational Squadron (JOS), which includes joint operational and training squadron, and an electronic warfare system through continuous joint co-operation between the two countries.” The UK MoD had not responded to a request for further information on this JOS by the time of publication.
The notification that Qatar had sealed its earlier commitment to procure the Typhoon came days after it was disclosed by French aircraft manufacturer Dassault that the country was exercising its option to buy a further 12 Rafales to add to the 24 previously signed for. Further to the Rafale and Typhoon deals, Qatar has also agreed to buy 36 Boeing F-15QA (Qatar Advanced)-variant Eagles from the United States (an engine contract related to this procurement was signed in November).
The result of these contracts is that the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) will see its current 12 Dassault Mirage 2000s replaced with at least 96 state-of-the art multirole combat aircraft during the coming years, and it is possible that this number could well rise with further follow-on buys.
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