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Qatar on-course to conclude current Apache deliveries by end of May

Qatar is on schedule to receive the final Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopter currently under contract in the coming weeks, a company spokesperson told Jane’s .

The first of an initial 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian attack helicopters for Qatar was handed over on 14 March 2019. The country is due to receive the last helicopter by the end of May.

The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) received the first of 24 Apaches during a ceremony at Boeing’s Mesa production plant in Arizona on 14 March 2019. Boeing’s Director, Vertical Lift International Sales, Terry Jamison, said on 5 May that the delivery timeline to have all helicopters delivered by the end of May, which was set out when the contract was signed in June 2016, is still the goal.

Just after deliveries commenced, the US State Department approved the sale of a further 24 AH-64Es to Qatar, making for a final fleet of 48. However, that follow-on contract has not yet been finalised.

Weapons being delivered include Lockheed Martin AGM-114R Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, 70 mm Hydra rockets (the approval for the follow-on Apaches included BAE Systems Advanced Precision Kill Weapon Systems [APKWS] II kits to convert such rockets into laser-guided munitions) and FIM-92H Stinger air-to-air missiles.

The Apache will replace the QEAF’s ageing Aerospatiale SA 342 Gazelle attack helicopters in the close air support, armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank roles. Qatar’s Apache procurement is part of a major recapitalisation of its capabilities that has included the purchase of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster IIIs, the Airbus Defence and Space A330 Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT), and the tactical Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules airlifters; Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon, and Boeing F-15QA Advanced Eagle fighters; NHIndustries NH90 helicopters; and the Raytheon Patriot ground-based air-defence system. There have also been reports that the country is looking to buy additional tankers, with the Boeing KC-46A Pegasus being considered along with more MRTTs.

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