Qatar to buy US Patriot missiles worth $11 bln: officials

Qatar to buy US Patriot missiles worth $11 bln: officials
Mon Jul 14, 2014 22:10:35

Qatar plans to buy US Patriot missile batteries and Apache attack helicopters in an arms deal worth about $11 billion, senior Pentagon officials said 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, officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

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.

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.

"It's a good sign," said a senior defense official, referring to the arms sale and the prospects for the fighter jet bidding.

The United States wants to preserve its role as "the defense provider of choice" for Qatar and other Persian Gulf Arab states, the 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.


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