Military Capabilities

Qatar to buy Eurofighter Typhoons

17 September 2017
Qatar has declared its intent to buy 24 new Typhoons, in addition to the Eagles it has also agreed to buy and the Rafales it has already bought. Source: IHS Markit/Gareth Jennings

Qatar has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for the procurement of Eurofighter Typhoon combat aircraft, the UK government announced on 17 September.

The LOI, which was signed during a meeting in Qatar between defence secretaries Michael Fallon and Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, is for the proposed purchase of 24 Typhoons. No details on proposed contract signature or delivery timelines were disclosed.

Qatar’s LOI comes three months after the Gulf state signed an agreement with the United States for the procurement of 36 Boeing F-15QA (Qatar Advanced)-variant Eagles, which itself came two years after it ordered 24 Dassault Rafales from France. The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) is known to have a requirement for 72 new combat aircraft to replace its ageing 12 Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighters. If the Typhoon and Eagle orders are fulfilled in full, the QEAF will field a fighter force of 84 platforms across three different types.

For some years, Qatar has been building up its combat aviation capabilities with the procurement of the latest platforms and technologies. The increase in the QEAF’s frontline fighter force from the current 12 aircraft to upwards of 84, in particular, will represent a massive enhancement in its capacity and capability.

While the growth in Qatar's fighter numbers is in-line with the country’s increased commitment to international operations over recent years, and with the somewhat perilous position it now finds itself (in a volatile region surrounded by less-than-friendly neighbours), its decision to replace its one current fighter type with three new different types is curious.

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