British defense equipment manufacturer BAE Systems has finalized a 5 billion pounds deal to sell 24 Typhoon fighter jets to Qatar. The deal, worth around 5 billion pounds, ($6.6 billion) includes 24 Eurofighter Typhoon multirole jets and nine Hawk trainers and a bespoke support and training package, confirmed on 18th September, became effective on the same day after conditions were met, as Qatar made its first payment to BAE Systems from the deal.
Qatar, to whom the first jets will be delivered in 2022, is the ninth buyer of the Typhoon, which is made by a consortium of British BAE Systems with France’s Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo. In this particular deal BAE Systems is the prime contractor.
The UK government confirmed that Qatar’s purchase was supported by a 5-billion-pound package of financing and insurance support was provided by UK Export Finance. UKEF supports exports from UK by providing export finance to enable overseas buyers to purchase goods and services from the UK, and export insurance for companies selling overseas.
As part of the deal, a Typhoon joint squadron comprising of both Qatari Emiri Air Force and RAF personnel will be based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire ahead of the delivery of the aircraft. The joint No. 12 squadron will have Qatar Emiri Air Force pilots and ground-crew based at RAF Coningsby. No. 12 squadron will have a role in security during the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, and “will ensure ease of future real-time joint operations for both sides, as well as ensuring precision of joint procedures, in light of the two countries’ partnership in combating terrorism,” Qatar’s Ministry of Defense said in December last year when the UK’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and his Qatari counterpart, Dr Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah, oversaw the signing of the "statement of intent" of the deal in Doha.
The UK’s Ministry of Defense said it was the first time the UK has formed a squadron with another nation since the Second World War and the Battle of Britain.
The UK’s Defense Secretary, Gavin Williamson, praised the deal calling it a massive boost to the British defense industry which will help to support thousands of UK jobs, and it will help further build the trust between the UK and Qatar to tackle the common challenges that they both share, support stability in the region while delivering security at home.
The Typhoon has struggled to win orders recently against competition from France’s Dassault Rafale. In March, BAE also agreed to finalize talks with Qatar’s regional rival Saudi Arabia on a multi-billion-pound order for 48 Typhoon aircraft. The group is waiting for Saudi Arabia to firm up its order for 48 Typhoons after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman signed a memorandum of intent to do so in May.
The U.S. State Department approved a deal worth $300 million in April this year allowing Qatar to buy 5,000 Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System guided rockets for its Apache helicopters, and in June it was included in a procurement of Hydra rockets which the APKWS can be fitted to. Other procurements by the small Gulf state include Rolling Airframe Missiles for naval use, NH90 military helicopters and Airbus H125 training helicopters, armed drones, armored vehicles and ships from Turkey, and Rafale aircraft and armored vehicles from France.
Qatar is also interested to purchase S-400 missile defense system from Russia for which the talks are still ongoing.
[Defence Blog, Reuters]