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Qatar signs letter-of-intent to acquire 24 Eurofighter Typhoons
October 16, 2017
Royal Air Force of Oman Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk. Photo credit: Eurofighter Consortium

Qatar signs letter-of-intent to acquire 24 Eurofighter Typhoons

Qatar has signed a letter-of-intent (LoI) with the U.K. for the purchase of 24 Eurofighter Typhoon multi-role fighters from BAE Systems.

According to an official statement released by the Government of the U.K., the document was signed by the respective Ministers of Defence (MoD) of both countries – Sir Michael Fallon and Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah – on Sunday, September 17.

Fallon lauded the agreement, stating:

“This will be the first major defence contract with Qatar, one of the UK’s strategic partners. This is an important moment in our defence relationship and the basis for even closer defence co-operation between our two countries. We also hope that this will help enhance security within the region across all Gulf allies and enhance Typhoon interoperability across the GCC.”

Specific details, such as the pricing or munitions package, were not disclosed. It is possible that the LoI is a basic framework that will launch technical and contractual negotiations.

The Eurofighter Typhoon’s current iteration, the Tranche 3, first flew in 2013. Its marquee features include – among others – the CAPTOR-E active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar and compatibility with stand-off weapons, such as cruise missiles, for deep-strike missions. Between the Eurofighter Consortium members, 112 Typhoon Tranche 3s were ordered in 2009.

This is Qatar’s third big-ticket fixed-wing combat aircraft purchase, following deals for 36 Boeing F-15QA in July 2017 and 24 Dassault Rafale in December 2015. It also makes Qatar the first country to potentially operate two competing “Euro-canard” fighter platforms simultaneously.

Notes & Comments:

If brought to fruition, Qatar would become the fourth country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to operate the Eurofighter Typhoon. It would also be the Eurofighter Consortium’s second new batch order, following Kuwait’s purchase of 28 Typhoon Tranche 3, reportedly valued at nearly $9 billion U.S.

Subassemblies manufacturing of the Typhoon will be suspended in three of the four Consortium members until 2018, when Kuwait’s order will push a re-activation of the production process (Defense Aerospace).

The Consortium has been seeking new export orders. In the process it has worked to reduce production costs and long-term lifecycle and maintenance costs (e.g. BAE Systems’ TyTAN program for Royal Air Force Typhoons, which aims to reduce costs by 40%). If Qatar is to follow Kuwait’s order, then Typhoon production would extend into the 2020s. BAE Systems is also marketing the Typhoon to Belgium, Finland and Poland. BAE had also pitched the Typhoon to Malaysia (until Malaysia shelved the program in June).

The Typhoon is reflective of Qatar’s determination to both recapitalize and vastly expand its military in all relevant domains, especially in terms of airpower. With three distinct long-range multi-role fighter assets and the Boeing AH-64E Apache Guardian in the order pipeline, Doha is on the path of building relatively sizable air defence, deep-strike, offensive air and close air support capabilities.

Granted, questions remain in regards to shoring up the requisite human resources capacity, especially to sustain the maintenance needs of each sophisticated platform and to demonstrate an active operational tempo. That said, by virtue of its contracts, Doha has built defence and commercial bridges to Washington, London and Paris, which could be foreign relations factor in of itself.

  • Shariq Shakil

    Typhoon for Pakistan … Any option soon ?

    • Nope. This is the last comment we got from the PAF CAS about off-the-shelf fighters: “Pakistan definitely has to induct new aircraft. We have both Chinese and Russian options.” http://www.bolnarratives.com/two-fronts-one-mission/

      • TheSchwantzPhenom

        As an observer of evolving geo-political relations in Asia, i sincerely believe, chances of Russia signing a deal of any modern fighter aircraft with advanced capabilities with Pakistan are slim to zero. I have no intent of playing a devil’s advocate here, by siding with India on a Pakistani forum thereby drawing flak and criticism from pakistani netizens. But truth be told, Pakistan’s best options are to secure chinese fighter jets like the J-11 and J-16 which closely match russian Su-27 fighters, if they have any serious intent to modernise their fleet.

        Russia due to its ever growing defense and economic trade with india, at the moment seems unwilling to simply ignore India’s concerns and thereby risk derailing a lot of future joint economic and defense projects with India. After a dwindling Russian economy in the face of western sanctions I sincerely believe India is too big a market for Russia to simply overlook. Inspite India going for a lot of US and european hardware, a recent report released by the Indian MoD points to an increasing defense trade between India and Russia for the year 2017 than the previous years. That is bound to increase further as Russia is a top contender in India’s upcoming project like the development of an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) as first reported by the Hindu. Russia is aggressively bidding for Indian Navy’s submarine tender for 6 stealth submarines under Project 75I and full ToT. Times of India reported that Russia will be pulling all and any diplomatic strings to convince the newly appointed Defense Minister N. Sitharman in signing the FGFA (Su-57) project with an Indian public sector industry called HAL. Indian express reported that India is expected to sign an order of 700 T-90S tanks from Russia in January to replace the last remaining vintage T-55 tanks, thereby sustaining the tank factory in uralvagonzavod and creating thousands of jobs. Not to mention some of the actively implemented projects like the setting up of Kamov 226 choppers factories in india, development of BrahMos II hypersonic missile, building of 4 frigates for the Indian Navy and the sale of S-400 to india which have already started.

        In a tense geo-political environment like south asia, it will always be either Pakistan or India as far as Russia’s strategic friendship is concerned but never both simultaneously. Simply because India realises the threat it might face from cheap but quality Russian hardware operating in Pakistani hands. Pakistan on the other hand with a meagre defense budget of nearly $ 8 billion USD will have a hard time luring Russians away from the multi billion dollar Indian defense market.

        By selling any state-of-the-art russian defense equipment to Pakistan and that too in meaningful numbers will definitely draw New Delhi’s ire. For example sale of Su-35 in dozens( 1 to 2 dozen at the maximum) to Pakistan can substantially impact India’s security. Su-35s will be a direct theat to Indian navy as well as coastal based strategic assets. If Russia would ever to go ahead in a deal with pakistan for su-35s costing between $ 1.5 to 2.5 Billion dollars, Russia would lose substantially more in defense contracts with India. Russians probably know that. As India is now more spoilt for choices with regards to defense platforms than it was say 5 years ago. Both are mindful of each others’ weaknesses and sensitivities.

        Some might point to the recent sale of 4 Mi-35 attack choppers to Pakistan by Russia as a maker of better and bigger things to come. But selling attack helicopters like the Mi-35 which India also possesses and that too in just 4 numbers hardly concerns India’s strategic security. It is a lot different from selling, say, advanced long range fighter-bombers like the Su-35 or the cheaper but highly maneuverable Mig-35 with AESA radars.

      • bill

        Are u agreed that we have an option to select a Russian fighter jet of 4.5 th gen.

        • Dar…

          SAAB isn’t an option to be completely ignored either. Yes they intend to partner your neighbour’s, but Swedes are rather like Russians when it comes to ‘open’ relationships. The electronic warfare suite alone is perhaps worth the acquisition of 20 Grippens. War is often a numbers game. Sure there are more technically capable platforms than a MiG35 or Grippen, but they are very capable almost peers to anything, …and if you can field more of them in the sky? Plus as SAAB say “Grippen pilots fly more”. Grippens have higher availability and cost less per flight hour, so more flight hours for the pilots then. Pilot skill and experience often counts for more than the platform’s specifications don’t you think?

          • The Gripen and MiG-35 are excellent platforms, but from the PAF’s PoV, the added capabilities of either doesn’t justify the cost of raising a new logistics channel. The JF-17 basically provides 60-70% of the capability for 30-40% of the cost. If there’s a need to invest in a new 4.5 gen fighter, it needs to be a massive qualitative and capability (e.g. range, payload, etc) leap, even in limited numbers (24~40). Ultimately, the PAF – like the PA – is working to gear the sourcing of mainstay systems domestically as much as possible, leaving imports to very specific solutions – e.g. long-range SAMs, force multipliers, strategic assets (e.g. aerial refueling tankers, etc).

            When it comes to Saab specifically, the PAF is probably more interested in the Erieye ER and Giraffe 4A and 8A radars.

          • Steve

            I agree. There is famous saying, “quantity has a quality of its own”.

  • Shershahsuri

    Typhoons, Rafales, F-15s and F-18s are all rich men’s toys. It is very ironical that to Arab Shiekhs these are just toys while Pakistan need it all the more and can utilize them to the best but cannot buy.

    • Honestly, good for the Arabs. IMO the lack of wealth Pakistan doesn’t need to translate into having no 4.5 gen fighters. It’s just that our leaders across the board and of all stripes have a penchant for looting public treasury.

      This is what the AGP said recently:

      “Another 78 cases worth Rs1.53tr were pointed out as having ‘weak internal financial controls’, while Rs730bn in ‘overpayments’ and ‘misappropriation of public funds’ were placed on the record.”

      That’s $6.9bn right there, and we’re not even talking about the layers of waste at other government levels.

      If Pakistan had Qatar’s natural gas, I’d wager our elite would figure out a way to leave us in more or less the same condition today.

      https://www.dawn.com/news/1354438

      • Jigsaw

        Couldn’t agree more.

      • Steve

        Can we have a revolution like Iran or Cuba and permanently remove the whole political class from the scene please. They can all go and get asylum in Delhi and London and have fun with alcohol and loose women. I’m sure they will be welcomed with open arms. Confiscate all they have in the country. We won’t get hotels and flats in Dubai and London back, or their Swiss bank accounts, but at least the ongoing looting will stop. New educated faces are badly needed. Unless we find some way to elect sincere competent leaders and completely transform dysfunctional institutions, the country will not progress in the next 70 years too. It requires no high tech scientific endeavour. Just a few good men. Pakistan can recover in 10-20 years from this poison it’s been fed since the gift of democracy was bestowed on us, and a corrupt dynastic political class developed.

      • gng

        A brilliant quote from Ali ibn Abu Talib sums up what muslims are going through. I couldn’t find the link so i have make do with a terrible translation of a translation. He said that
        Strong convictions for great deeds and lavish living don’t mix and many convictions of yesterday fade away because of a nights sleep. (From a lecture by Jawad Naqvi).
        Corrupt rulers need to be dealt with and not just from one party, the nation feels this every day and the lack of funds for new fighters is just one example. But the feeling is intense, every day makes that anger more severe.
        Pakistanis have realised what they are dealing with and the sense of betrayal and injustice is growing stronger by day, how long can this lot hang on? Most are near 70 and even billions of dollars can buy immortality.
        Someone needs to make sure that there is no new NRO for the next generation. I get the feeling that at least two As from the famous Pakistani 3 As are in no mood to let things carry on ad before. Someone will just have to come up with a policy for zero tolerance for corruption…. Maybe like Philippines war on drugs. The “badmashyia” will not go quietly but the reckoning could be even bloodier. One thing is certain, nuclear weapons and missile programs and even jf 17 shows one thing, when Pakistanis decide they need to do something, then that thing gets done …and it gets done fast. The clock is ticking, someone has to make that decision….

        • Steve

          Remember these politicians are protected by countries who do not wish us well. They like seeing Pakistan poor and weak and the treasonous politicians do their bidding and further their aims. These countries will use every means at their disposal including sanctions and declaration of terrorists sponsorship to further their aims. If it was not for the army and possibly the judiciary the polical class would denuclearise Pakistan, give AJK to India, and let Pakistanis starve for a large dollar deposit in a numbered bank account in Switzerland or a multi-storey hotel in Dubai. It’s not surprising that 10%, NS, and Altaf are the toast of Delhi, and the army is blamed for everything. If things go wrong they always have promises of asylums in these countries.

          • Shakeel

            Excellent point Steve. It is not coincidental that Switzerland has initiated a campaign showing free Balochistan posters. I have travelled to Balochistan & did not experience any hostility. Outside powers are dreaming about creating a Libyan style uprising in Balochistan.
            Notice that Switzerland or any other western country have overlooked the human rights abuses in Rohingya, Palestine or Kashmir. Their hypocrisy
            & evil designs are all too blatant. The sooner we rid of these basket case leaders in Islamabad, the better our response will be towards fabricated challenges.

  • Saptarshi Dasgupta

    yeh log pagal ho gay hai. F-15, Typhoon and Rafale…such an overkill.They do not even require it. This is to keep USA, France ,Britain, Germany and Italy happy since Qatar is facing boycott by other Arab nations for terror support.. Plus it is such a logistic nightmare. 24 Typhoon or 24 Rafale or 36 f-15 could have been cut to 42 Rafale and 42 f-15 or 42Typhoon and 42 f-15. Or they could have gone in for Su-35 , F-16v, super hornet etc. Truly OIL BOLTA HAI….

    • Although Qatar did sign the F-15QA contract, I’d wager that there’s a 20% chance that the Typhoon LOI is to pressure the U.S. into pressuring KSA to back-off. Qatar can basically not pay for the F-15s and dedicate its energies to negotiating a technical contract with Europe.

  • Steve

    What we need is a defence and economic alliance like NATO with all these countries and lead it with Turkey. There is potentially a huge huge benefit to us in every possible way. This lot of PML-N will not do anything. We need new faces and men of vision.

  • Steve

    Shakeel I agree that NA-120 was an eye opener and sadly expected. Our people need to be weaned away from relying on a culture of nepotism, bribery, and influence peddling that rules every aspect of their lives, from their jobs to kids schools to electricity and gas connections etc. Then and only then will they elect upfront and honest people.

  • Steve

    Muslims have always being waiting for the next Mehdi, the Salahuddin, the Sher Shah Suri. We never rely on institutions but on glorified individuals. That’s maybe why we are where we are. All advanced countries in the present time rely on the system and trust it to produce good rulers. They may not be great but they will be reliable and safe for nation that will continue to progress.

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