Qatar plans to buy US Patriot missile batteries and Apache attack helicopters in an arms deal worth about $11 billion, as senior Pentagon officials said on Monday.
Qatar’s minister of state for defense, Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Attiyah, confirmed the arms sale in a signing ceremony in Washington after talks with his American counterpart, Chuck Hagel, as officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
The United States wants to preserve its role as “the “defense” provider of choice” for Qatar and other Persian Gulf Arab states, a senior war official said.
The weapons would enhance American’s security and diplomatic ties to Qatar, the official said, despite some disagreement over Syria and Qatar’s assistance to some militant groups deemed too radical by Washington.
“It’s a good sign,” official said, referring to the arms sale and the prospects for the fighter jet bidding.
The sale would provide Qatar with roughly ten radars and 34 launchers for Patriot systems designed to knock out incoming missiles, as well as 24 Apache helicopters and Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Moreover, the weapons deal was the biggest for the United States in 2014 and came as Qatar weighs proposals in a fighter jet competition, with US aerospace firm Boeing vying against British and French defense companies.