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Qatar ready to sign Typhoon, Hawk contract with UK
February 22, 2018
Eurofighter Typhoon. Photo source: BAE Systems

Qatar ready to sign Typhoon, Hawk contract with UK

Defense News reports that the Qatari government has finalized negotiations with its U.K. counterpart for the purchase of 24 Eurofighter Typhoon fighters and six Hawk trainers from BAE Systems.

Chris Boardman, Managing Director of BAE Systems Military Air and Information, outlined to the British Parliament’s Defence Select Committee that the matter was “purely down to when there is a right window to have it [the contract] signed.” Boardman did not commit to a specific date.

Qatar signed a letter-of-intent (LOI) for the Eurofighter Typhoon and Hawk in September during an official visit to Doha by the U.K. Minister of Defence Sir Michael Fallon. In October, BAE disclosed that Qatar also requested six Hawk trainers with the arms package.

If signed, the Eurofighter Typhoon would join the Dassault Rafale and Boeing F-15QA in the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s (QEAF) fleet modernization and expansion effort. The QEAF currently flies one Dassault Mirage 2000-5 squadron along with six Alpha Jets in the training and close air support roles.

Notes & Comments:

Although the expansion and technology advancement efforts are ambitious, Doha’s desire to procure directly analogous – if not potentially duplicating – platforms in the form of the Typhoon and Rafale is intriguing. Qatar will endure the challenge of maintaining distinct logistics and maintenance channels, and it will require a surge of skilled human resources to efficiently operate these fighter platforms. Like the U.S., the U.K. and France could accrue a secondary commercial benefit of providing service contractors to support respective BAE and Dassault aircraft in the QEAF.

However, the outcome provides Qatar with a diverse supplier pool, one connecting each of the major Western armament manufacturing countries. In fact, Doha has also procured naval and land systems from Italy and Germany, respectively. It has also opened the doors to talks with Russia.

The specific configuration or armaments package of the Qatari Typhoon deal have not yet been revealed. Kuwait is the launch customer of the Typhoon Tranche 3 equipped with the Leonardo Captor-E active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar. Qatar could mirror that route while also equipping the Typhoon – if not having it share – with the same air-to-air and air-to-surface munitions acquired for the Rafale (as armaments for both fighters are supplied by MBDA). Qatar is procuring the AASM stand-off range air-to-surface munition, SCALP air-launched cruise missiles, MICA-IR and MICA-EM beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles (BVRAAM) and Meteor BVRAAM from MBDA for the Rafale.

The potential Qatari contract also provides the U.K. labour market with a much welcome boon in a period of uncertainty. BAE Systems’ Warton site employs 6,000 people and, as the final assembly facility for the Typhoon, it requires the QEAF order to reactive output from 2024. Currently, the Eurofighter Consortium is under production, it is expected to keep Warton active until 2022. In October, Sky News reported that BAE Systems will cut 1,000 jobs, mainly at its Warton site.

  • آصف اقبال

    Rafales, F-15s and now Typhoons. What is going on in Qatar? How will they maintain so many aircraft lines.

    • U

      My Q is why do they Need so many similar aircrafts?!!

      • Joseph

        US used to ask Saudis to bail out Citibank. This looks like Qatar doing a favor for UK to stop Typhoon production plants from closure.

        Saudis and UAE took actions against Qatar, and US is close to Saudis, so I think Qatar is trying to strengthen ties with European nations. This is one way to do it when you have a lot of money.

        • Steve

          Like I said, pathetically trying to bribe all the cops, good and bad, not knowing they are all one and the same. When the proverbial hits the fan this money spending won’t count for jack!

          • Abdul Rashid

            I like your poetry, Steve.

          • Steve

            Lol

          • Joseph

            In a way what you said is right. Internal conflicts in middle east are golden opportunities for western nations, a lot could be gained from these oil rich countries. UK is especially good at this. From I hear UK used to rule India mainly through manipulating the internal conflicts of different ethnic groups, used very little of it’s military forces.

            But western world is no longer as united as before, Russia is much less a threat, Trump’s US is also dividing NATO.

            Perhaps even before that European countries were unhappy of US having so much power over them. I think that is why there are things like Euro fighter Typhoon, Eurojet, Airbus and of course European Union.

            Qatar is considerably smaller than Saudi Arabia and UAE, and it is surrounded by them, so it needs allies. UK is leaving EU, it’s economy will take a hit, desperately needs to create defense related employment, especially in Warton, which is a current conservative government constituency (Election is everything to politicians).

            As a permanent member of UN security council and founding NATO member (Just like France, hello Rafale), UK probably promised to wield it’s considerable influence to help Qatar diplomatically. So if US is going to help Saudi Arabia it won’t get much assistance from it’s European allies.

            So I think this is a realistic result for both sides.

  • Steve

    Qatar needs a semblance of air defence as this current era of inter-Arab wars with a lot of Western interference may lead to the Saudis attacking them next like they did Yemen. The West have a win-win. Get cheap oil, establish bases paid for by the Arabs, sell weapons at huge prices, militarily dominate the weak impotent Arabs, politically control them, and financially control them too as all their money resides in Western banks and institutions. The Muslims have sunk so low they have to look up at the bottom. See how they bow deeply to pretty average visiting Western politicians and give them gifts of gold and diamond encrusted ornaments. They get a framed picture of a Western monument or leader in return hahaha. Would be funny if it was not so pathetic.

  • Steve

    They are buying from everyone to keep everyone happy. The “good” cop as well as the “bad” cop once the screws are applied. They are desperate to prevent a Saudi/GCC attack and it will make begging to Western leaders easier in their perception. I saw a Western defence minister laugh on TV when asked about the competence of Arab forces in general. He then tried to be diplomatic and said it was a “training issue”. They have zero respect for Arabs.

    • TanhayeekiZubani

      I know an elderly American Veteran who used to train GCC armed forces over the years in Qatar, UAE, and Saudi. His opinion could be summarized as,

      respect for the arab soldier, contempt for the arab generals and
      outright derision for the rulers (he reserved his ire for them and used to call them disgraceful for letting their people down repeatedly)

      • Joseph

        If the soldiers are trained by US then they should be all right. But can US train their commanders and generals as well? Like sending them to west point or hire some west point teachers that sort of thing.

        Or are those generals appointed mainly because of nepotism, education and training are optional?

        • TanhayeekiZubani

          a mix I think, there is a steady stream that goes to western military academies, but I understand there are two issues

          1. Tribal clan based loyalty that is not totally removed even at a western school, and consequently shows up in the chain of command with adverse consequences in combat scenarios. (something the old man I spoke to alluded to and said existed even today)

          2. The arab ruler’s fear of being overthrown, this results in the nepotism you speak of, tribal loyalties overrule competence in a number of cases.

          the result has shown up in every modern conflict the arabs have been involved in and hence the utter disdain for their ‘valour’ by the west/Israel. the result has been never ending misery for common arab people

          • Joseph

            Thanks for the well thought response. It is indeed a shame, they have just about the most modern and well trained armed forces but nothing to show for.

  • Its ridiculous but a bambling to tie up these western vendors to engage and to avoid any misadventure from the SAUDI led arab alliance supported by AMERICA and other WESTERN POWERS and threatening to take military action against QATAR , these vendors are exaggerating IRANIAN threat selling their weapons getting their share from the lucrative arms market .

  • TZK

    Qatar has the largest US military base in the Gulf at Al Udeid. The only issue with Qatar is Aljazeera which the current US administration, Israel and other Gulf states dislike. All the Qataris need do is air Fox news on their network for a few months and hostility will go away.

  • Faisal Jawaid

    Arabs can invest this money in Turkey, Pakistan and other countries project to build our own big tickets defence equipments. The indigenous equipment will come with no string attached plus the Muslim block will not rely on West. Sighh this is not the case.

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