Persian Gulf Arab state Qatar is set to become the Eurofighter Typhoon multirole combat aircraft’s ninth operator.
A Statement of Intent (SOI), signed on 17 September, sealed Qatar’s Typhoon interest. Its signatories were Michael Fallon, the UK Defence Secretary, and his Qatari equivalent, Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah. Signing took place in Qatar’s capital city, Doha.
Qatar intends to order 24 Typhoons, plus support equipment. These aircraft will boost the Gulf state’s frontline fighter fleet and air power capability. While the order isn’t yet wholly firmed-up, SOI stage represents a major step towards full agreement.
A multi-billion-pound deal that’ll keep Typhoon production going until least 2019, news of Qatar’s Typhoon agreement came just days after nearby Bahrain’s F-16Vs order was confirmed.
The first Typhoon export contract in five years – Oman, which ordered 20, having been the most recent purchaser – it would also be the largest in a decade. Final Typhoon deliveries to Saudi Arabia, which ordered 72 back in 2007, were made at the start of this year.
“After a number of years of negotiations between our two countries, I am delighted to have been able to sign today with Qatar’s Defence Minister, this Statement of Intent on the purchase of 24 Typhoon aircraft by Qatar”, said Fallon. “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”, he added. “We also hope that this will help enhance security within the region across all Gulf allies and enhance Typhoon interoperability across the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].”
Qatar Emiri Air Force
Established in 1974, following the withdrawal of British military assets stationed there, the Qatar Emiri Air Force initially operated Hawker Hunters alongside helicopters. Today, it has a mixed fleet spread between two air bases: Doha and Al Udeid. The fleet includes examples of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III, Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Hercules and Westland Sea King. The Boeing AH-64E Apache and Dassault Rafale are among the types it has on order.
First flown in 1994, the Eurofighter Typhoon is among the world’s leading combat aircraft. Tasked with UK air defence for the past ten years, it made its frontline debut during 2011’s Operation Ellamy: the NATO-ordered Libyan no-fly-zone enforcement missions.
Both Eurofighter Typhoon images copyright © 2017 BAE Systems. All rights reserved