The British and Qatari Defence Ministers inked a contract in Doha on 10 December that formalises the acquisition of 24 Eurofighter TYPHOON aircraft for the Emir of Qatar’s Air Force, building on a Letter of Intent agreed in September. The contract comes just three days after French President Emmanuel Macron and His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani agreed on the purchase by Qatar of a further 12 Dassault Aviation RAFALE fighters, bringing the nation’s total fleet to 26.
British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson and his Qatari counterpart, Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, oversaw signature of the TYPHOON contract in Doha on Sunday. Included in the agreement is a clear indication that both governments intend to proceed with the procurement of an unspecified number of HAWK trainer aircraft.
“It is a great pleasure to sign our biggest export deal for the TYPHOON in a decade. These formidable jets will boost the Qatari military’s mission to tackle the challenges we both share in the Middle East, supporting stability in the region and delivering security at home,” Williamson stated.
The aircraft will be assembled in the UK by BAE Systems and will support thousands of British jobs, according to the Ministry of Defence. The contract also includes an agreement with MBDA for BRIMSTONE and METEOR missiles and Raytheon’s PAVEWAY IV guided weapon: total value is reported to be approximately £6 billion (U$8 billion).
Training and cooperation between the two air forces will see British and Qatari crews working together more regularly, with Qatari pilots and ground crew conducting training in the UK. Qatar, the ninth nation to select the TYPHOON, shares a close and longstanding relationship with Britain, focused on maintaining regional stability and countering violent extremism and terrorism.
The agreement for additional RAFALE fighters came just days after the collapse of a Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Kuwait, which fell apart due to disagreements over the Saudi-led dispute with Qatar. According to press reports surrounding President Macron’s visit to Qatar last week, the new agreement also carries provision for an additional 36 aircraft as options, which would make the Emirate’s air force a powerful and thoroughly modern force capable of defensive and offensive operations at need.