Browsing 'defense' News

US Navy

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar has agreed to buy seven navy ships from Italy at a cost of nearly $6 billion, officials have announced.

The purchase will significantly bolster the country’s maritime forces, and has been in the works for at least a year.

The agreement was finalized during yesterday’s visit to Qatar by Italy’s foreign minister.

It comes as Qatar’s isolation from its Gulf neighbors continues into a third month, with no end in sight.

In a statement, Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said:

“We have strong political and economic relations with Italy and important cooperation in defense and security fields along with the continued political consultation between the two countries.”

According to the Associated Press, Al Thani also spoke about the Gulf dispute, which remains at an impasse.

He said, “We are not paying attention to decisions that don’t produce anything new.

“Every day brings something that contradicts the other so Qatar is not going to tire itself staying abreast on what (the quartet) see as solutions to resolving the crisis.”

Naval security

Qatari officials did not name the companies involved in the new agreement.

But in June 2016, Italy’s state-backed shipbuilder Fincantieri said it had signed a multi-billion dollar deal to build ships for Qatar.

Mohammed Ismail

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In terms of financial and military heft, this is one of the biggest agreements Qatar has signed in years to boost its naval defense.

Smaller orders include Turkish-made patrol ships and interceptor vessels in 2014, as well as Zodiac attack boats, among others.

Fincantieri says its corvettes are typically 104m long and are operated by a crew of some 105 individuals, although various models have different specifications.

Qatar has been investing in maritime defense capabilities due to its large coastline and massive offshore gas resources.

The waters of the Gulf are heavily patrolled by warships from several nations seeking to keep shipping lanes open and interdict smuggling.

Thoughts?

Raytheon

Raytheon early warning radar system.

US-based defense firm Raytheon has been awarded a $1.1 billion contract to build an early warning radar system for Qatar, the Pentagon has announced.

In a statement, the firm said the system will be integrated into Qatar’s current air and missile defense capabilities once it is completed by mid-2021.

The deal has been in the works for almost four years.

Qatar first put in a request to purchase the radar system in 2013. The contract has since been awaiting lawmaker approval.

Regional stability

At the time, the order package included an A/N FPS-132 Block 5 Early Warning Radar. Additional parts and equipment, training and technical support were also part of the deal.

The system is capable of detecting “sea-launched or intercontinental ballistic missiles” at a range of up to 3,000 miles (4,828 km) and is capable of tracking them in real time, US Defense documents show.

When notifying Congress about the contract, the United States Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that the sale would “promote regional stability by enhancing regional defense to a key U.S. ally.”

It continued:

“The acquisition of this air defense system would provide a permanent defensive capability to the Qatar Peninsula as well as protection of the economic infrastructure and well-being of Qatar.”

Defense

Qatar has spent billions of dollars shoring up its defenses in the past few years amid growing regional instability.

In December, it placed a $29.5 million order with US firm Lockheed Martin for an unspecified number of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC3) missiles and PAC-3 MSE interceptors.

U.S Pacific Command

Patriot missile

And last fall, the government signed a deal to install a defense system along its coast to help stop hostile ships from entering its waters.

Qatar is also investing in new aircraft as it expands its air defense capability. For example, US lawmakers recently approved Qatar’s purchase of 36 F-15 fighter jets from Boeing.

Thoughts?

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It is against the law to operate remotely piloted air systems (RPAS) in Qatar without government permission, the country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said.

The prohibition against unauthorized drone usage was published in newspapers this week.

Reiterating a warning it issued last year, the CAA said the use of drones without permission “poses serious threats and hazards” to the country’s air safety and navigation.

Drone ban announcement

It also warned it would take legal action against any violators of the law.

Drone development

Qatar has been working on plans to develop a “space management concept” for more than a year now.

The aim of developing a policy to regulate drone usage is to avoid incidents such as airport closures due to unauthorized RPAS in the area.

Vineet Bhatia/Twitter

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

“It is not a big issue, but we have to take care of it. Drones can sometimes be disturbing,” General Khalid bin Ahmad Al Kuwari said in June.

Qatar is also in the middle of developing its own drone technology to protect its coastal borders.

Last summer, the RSC signed a five-year research deal with Texas A&M University at Qatar regarding drone technology in the areas of defense, industry and commerce.

Thoughts?