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Qatar receives Meteor missiles, NH90 helos

An image of an NH90 helicopter participating in the Qatar national day flypast, published by the MoD on 18 December. (Qatar MoD)

Qatar has received MBDA Meteor beyond visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAMs) and NHIndustries NH90 helicopters that were both displayed at the country's recent national day military parade.

Images from the event posted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 18 December showed Dassault Rafale combat aircraft carrying the Meteor missile, confirming for the first time the Gulf state's receipt of the BVRAAM. One of a batch of NH90 helicopters, delivered just days earlier, also participated in the flypast for the first time.

As noted by Janes World Air Forces , the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) has received 23 of 24 Rafale combat aircraft. These fighters are equipped with a range of French- and European-made weaponry including the anti-ship MBDA AM39 Exocet Block II, MBDA SCALP EG cruise missile, medium‐range air‐to‐ground AASM, MICA IR air-to-air missile, and the Meteor. The Meteor will also equip the QEAF's Eurofighter Typhoons.

With a published speed of more than Mach 4 and a range in excess of 100 km, the Meteor has been described by industry and military officials as providing a step-change in air-to-air combat capabilities. Whereas similar-type missiles have a relatively short boost phase after launch, after which they glide to the target while bleeding energy, the Meteor's ramjet means it is propelled up to the point of impact. This reduces the adversary aircraft's chances of escaping the missile and gives the pilot more assurance of success when engaging enemy aircraft.

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