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Update: Qatar shows off new Apaches

The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) displayed its new AH-64E Apache Guardian helicopters for the first time during the country’s annual National Day Parade on 18 December.

An QEAF Apache Guardian is seen in a still from Qatari TV coverage of the parade. (Al-Rayyan TV)

An QEAF Apache Guardian is seen in a still from Qatari TV coverage of the parade. (Al-Rayyan TV)

Local television coverage of the event showed seven Apache Guardians participating in the flyby.

The US Department of Defense awarded a USD667.5 million contract to Boeing in May 2016 to build 24 AH-64E attack helicopters for Qatar. The US Embassy in Doha announced in May that the first one had been handed over to the QEAF at Boeing’s Mesa plant in Arizona.

It was announced in the same month that the US State Department has approved the sale of a second batch of 24 AH-64Es to Qatar at an estimated cost of USD3 billion. The sale of 5,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapons Systems (APKWS) II for use with the Qatari attack helicopters was approved in April 2018. The APKWS is a guidance kit for 70 mm air-to-surface rockets.

Three Eurofighter Typhoons also participated in the flyby. The QEAF has ordered 24 Typhoons but has not received any yet. The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) subsequently said the aircraft belonged to its 12 Squadron, which it said had just completed Exercise 'Epic Skies III' in Qatar.

It added the squadron, which was re-established at RAF Coningsby in July, will become a joint RAF-QEAF unit in early 2020 when its first Qatari personnel will join.

The first [Qatari] pilots and groundcrew are progressing well on their Typhoon training courses with sister squadrons and this training has allowed to us confirm our preparations are on track for their arrival, Wing Commander Chris Wright Officer, 12 Squadron commander, said.

Two UAVs were displayed on Doha's corniche during the parade. The smaller one appeared to be a Textron Systems Aerosonde, the larger a Textron Nightwarden. (Al-Rayyan TV)

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