Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & Taimur Khan / The National & Praveen Menon / Reuters & – 2014-03-28 01:47:52
Qatar Announces $23 Billion Arms Purchase
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(March 27, 2014) — Amid recent acrimony with Saudi Arabia and other members of the GCC, Qatar has announced $23 billion in arms contracts today, including massive orders of attack helicopters from both Boeing and Airbus.
In addition to the attack helicopters, Qatar is purchasing weapons from other US arms dealers like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, including Patriot missile defense systems and “other weapons.”
Though officials downplayed the significance of the announcement, it comes just one day before President Obama’s scheduled visit to Riyadh to meet with the Saudi King, and with Saudi Arabia and Qatar harshly at odds, it’s sure to be at least mentioned during the talks.
All of the GCC nations spend huge portions of their budgets on arms purchases, using their vast oil revenue to buy extremely modern weaponry despite none of the nations having any significant wars on the horizon. The purchases are often used by leaders to prove their own power, and with the Obama Administration so interested in increasing weapons exports, the US has been only too willing to provide them with pricey new arms.
Qatar to Buy $23 Billion Worth of
Weaponry Including Apache Helicopters
Taimur Khan / The National
NEW YORK (March 27, 2014) — Qatar announced the weapons contracts worth US$23 billion on the eve of bilateral talks between the US President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah in Riyadh.
US firms were awarded contracts worth a total of $7.55bn (Dh27.7bn), including a contract with Boeing for 24 Apache attack helicopters. The contracts included advanced military equipment from 19 other manufacturers, including anti-missile interception systems, said a spokeswoman for a defence conference in Doha, where the purchases were announced on Thursday.
The French defence ministry said Qatar would be buying 22 NH90 military helicopters from a unit of European aerospace group Airbus worth nearly $2.8bn.
Twelve of the aircraft would be transport helicopters and the other 10 would be the frigate version. Qatar will also acquire two Airbus-made refuelling tankers, the ministry said.
Qatar, like its fellow GCC neighbours, is accelerating its weapons build-up as nuclear negotiations with Iran proceed. But with tensions within the GCC recently spilling into the open over Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the timing of the announcement could complicate today’s carefully orchestrated meeting that is aimed reassuring Riyadh.
“Anything can happen, but I would be surprised if this particular issue upsets the visit in any major way,” said Brian Katulis, an expert on US national security policy in the Middle East at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington.
“The US and Saudi Arabia have prepared for this visit to be as smooth as possible, and both countries are focused on their broader interests.”
Large-scale purchases of powerful strategic weapons such as the one announced yesterday by Qatar are made in the context of safeguarding against Iran, a threat historically shared by all the GCC member states, Mr Katulis added.
Qatar Buys Helicopters, Missiles in
$23 Billion Arms Deals
Praveen Menon / Reuters
* US firms get deals worth $7.6 billion
* Boeing gets contract for 24 Apache attack helicopters
* Lockheed, Raytheon also win contracts
DOHA (March 27, 2014) — Qatar announced contracts worth about $23 billion on Thursday to buy attack helicopters, guided missiles, tankers and other weapons from Boeing Co, Airbus and other arms makers as the Gulf state accelerates its military build-up.
The world’s top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter announced deals with about 20 global companies, including firms from the United States, which were awarded deals worth 27.5 billion riyals ($7.6 billion), said a spokeswoman for a Doha defense conference where the announcements were made.
The weapons purchases include large deals with Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others.
Qatar, and other Gulf Arab and Middle Eastern countries are looking to acquire new high-tech military equipment to protect themselves from neighboring Iran and internal threats after the Arab Spring uprising.
Boeing confirmed that the announcement included a contract to buy 24 AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and three Boeing 737 Airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft.
The deal for the helicopters was valued at 8.9 billion riyals, said the spokeswoman for the conference.
In Paris, France’s Defense Ministry said Qatar had agreed to buy 22 NH90 military helicopters from a unit of European aerospace group Airbus worth 2 billion euros ($2.76 billion) and two Airbus-made refueling tankers.
NHIndustries is 62.5 percent owned by Airbus’ Eurocopter helicopter unit, 32 percent owned by AgustaWestland, a unit of Italy Finmeccanica’s and 5.5 percent by Stork Fokker.
Qatar also committed to buy a Patriot missile defense system built by Raytheon equipped with PAC-3 missiles made by Lockheed; advanced daytime, high-definition sensors and radars for Apache helicopters; and Javelin missiles built by a Lockheed-Raytheon joint venture, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Raytheon had told analysts in January that it expected to finalize an order with Qatar in the first half of 2014 for over $2 billion in Patriot missile defense system equipment.
The Pentagon approved the sale to Qatar of $9.9 billion worth of Patriot fire units, radars, and various Raytheon and Lockheed missiles in November 2012.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the US body, which oversees foreign arms sales, had notified lawmakers in July 2012 of a possible sale of Apache helicopters to Qatar.
A spokeswoman for the US agency had no immediate comment.
Washington has been keen to deepen its cooperation with Gulf nations, which have been long-standing allies, on missile defense and increase pressure on Iran over its nuclear program.
The Apache helicopters are built by Boeing and used by the US Army, Egypt, Greece, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and United Kingdom.
They will be fitted with Longbow radar equipment made by a joint venture of Lockheed and Northrop Grumman Corp.
($1 = 3.6415 Qatar Riyals)
(Additional reporting by Marine Pennetier in Paris and Andrea Shalal in Washington, Editing by William Maclean, Elaine Hardcastle and Tom Brown)
(c) Thomson Reuters 2014. All rights reserved.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.