Boeing has been awarded USD6.17 billion to manufacture and deliver 36 F-15QA Advanced Eagle combat aircraft to Qatar.
Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract, announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 22 December, all the aircraft will be delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) by 30 December 2022.
The contract follows an agreement that was signed by Qatar and the United States in June for the latest variant of the Boeing-made. Although that agreement was also reported to be for 36 aircraft, the value was given by the Qatari government as USD12 billion. This suggests that either a follow-on procurement for another 36 fighters might be possible, or that the initial agreement also covers an as-yet-unannounced major weapons purchase to accompany the Advanced Eagles.
While Qatar certainly does not require another 36 F-15QAs on top of the 36 now contracted (it also has to be questioned as to whether the small Gulf nation has the manpower to field such an enlarged combat aviation force), such a development cannot be entirely discounted given the country’s procurement history of late.
Qatar’s recent fighter procurement announcements have been quite remarkable in terms of their scope and ambition. The QEAF has over recent months signed for 36 Dassault Rafales from France and 24 Eurofighter Typhoons from the United Kingdom. These 60 aircraft coupled with the 36 Advanced Eagles are set to replace just 12 ageing Dassault Mirage 2000s.
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