Defense minister: Qatar-made drones to fly over Doha next year

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

David Rodriguez Martin/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A project to build drones in Qatar has reached “advanced stages, with the devices expected to hit the market as early as next year, the nation’s Minister of State for Defense Affairs has said.

According to QNA, Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah said that the country has been working on a drone production project with Germany, as part of efforts to shore up Qatar’s defenses.

He made the remarks on the sidelines of the fifth Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX), which opened today.

It is unclear what the Qatar-made drones will be used for, or whether they will be sold to other countries.

Coping with ‘risk’

Qatar’s armed forces have been training with unmanned aerial vehicles for years.

In 2011, the country reportedly bought its first drones – 10 mini ones – from a Turkish defense manufacturer.

Qatar purchased 10 of the Turkish Bayraktar mini unmanned aerial vehicles in 2011.

Bayhaluk / Wikipedia

Qatar purchased 10 of the Turkish Bayraktar mini unmanned aerial vehicles in 2011.

The short-range devices were used for reconnaissance and surveillance missions.

QNA also reported Al Attiyah as encouraging integration of defense systems across nations to “collectively cope with the risks” in the region.

Also today at DIMDEX, Qatar inked a memo of understanding with France on an existing order of 24 Rafale fighter jets.

The deal had been struck last year, but payment was apparently delayed.

Qatar finally made a down payment in December and the new agreement seems to indicate that the country is serious about buying the €6.7 billion jets.

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