US weapons maker Raytheon Corp. has said it expects to finalize an estimated $2 billion deal to install Patriot Missile Defense systems in Qatar by December.
The agreement is part of a larger $24 billion artillery purchase that the Gulf state committed to earlier this year as it works to build up its defenses.
Speaking to Reuters, Raytheon Vice President Tim Glaeser said that agreements are to be reached within the next four to eight weeks. But he gave no exact details on the final cost or number of weapons to be delivered.
Patriot missile defense system
In March, Qatar Armed Forces signed deals with more than 20 defense contractors to purchase various new tanks, helicopters, warships, missiles and artillery, to the tune of QR87 billion (US$23.89 billion).
The agreements were signed at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition (DIMDEX), during which Qatar also showed interest in missiles from US-based Lockheed Martin Corp., sensors and radars for Apache helicopters and Javelin missiles built by a Lockheed-Raytheon joint venture.
In May, Qatar finally agreed to purchase $11 billion worth of defense weaponry from the US. That deal included 10 batteries for Patriot systems to sink incoming missiles, 24 Apache helicopters and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Once the deals are finalized, Qatar will become the fourth Gulf country to have the missile defense system, which Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait already own.
The UAE has upgraded its Patriot system, while Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are currently looking at doing so, Glaeser told Reuters.
Qatar has been increasing its defenses in recent year by building up its arsenal through expensive weaponry deals and implementing a new law that makes it mandatory for young Qatari men to enroll in national service.
Last year, the Gulf country closed an additional four deals with the US and Germany during a military spending spree, mounting to a total of some $3.2 billion.
Economic and political ties between Qatar and the US have also been growing, and a 10-year Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed in December, confirming that US troops will continue to serve at Qatar’s Al Udeid Air Base through to 2024 at least.
Speculations as to why the country has been swiftly improving its defense capabilities have been based around ongoing threats from Iran.
But the nation’s ambassador to the US, Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari, told AFP that the latest purchase in March was not because of a specific country:
“As you know our region is going through a lot of instability. What we bought are weapons to defend Qatar,” he said.
24 billion is a lot of military equipment but I wonder who will actually operate this stuff? Does this mean we will see tanks at sealine and missle defence on the north coast….
Lol man what are you doing in this country if you despise it so much? We all criticize Qatar in one way or another but you go out of your way to write a hateful/mocking comment on every post. I’m sure no amount of money could be worth having to tolerate something you hate that much.
I don’t see how you can construe that from my comment and what about my comments supporting Qatar? I get attacked for being pro-Qatar!
The point above is 24 billion buys a lot of equipment and the local population is very small, so who will be operating it? (and do they really need it)
Think of what they could do with education or road safety with 24 billion. What a waste. All the kit in the world would not save the country if the infidel Americans left.
I agree with you and I’m Qatari, I don’t see the need for these huge military expenditures.
This big military expenditures arent really for defence purposes. its another way to transfer money to europe/ america, where the defence industry keeps a lot of people in jobs. This in turn keeps europe/america onside to provide the real defence in the region.
I will send my driver and import another slave to drive me around, no problem.
It will be used to repel offensive news stories.
It’s not Patriot Missiles, its actually Poet Missiles, used to target those who recite offensive poems….
Ha ha ha … good one!
I feel safer already
They won’t protect you against traffic accidents, which you should fear more than a foreign invasion if you are living here…
Too right brother.
Given how Qatar has strived to undermine human rights and any form of democracy or free speech in it’s own country and has (sometimes unwittingly) contributed to the unleashing of some of the most anti-democratic forces outside it’s borders, as the free press attests I am not alone in finding it’s continued support by western powers as undeserved. Unfortunately trade takes precedence over any ethical considerations.
The question is: if the civilized, developed and democratic countries believe those weapons are evil and they are reducing their military budgets, why do they sell them, or should I say “impose” them on other nations? Could it be a price for some undisclosed “favors” perhaps!