US State Department approves another military order from Qatar
A US government agency has approved the sale of large military transport aircraft to Qatar, in a deal worth $781 million.
The agreement is for logistics support, spare engines and equipment for C-17 aircraft, the US State Department said in a statement this week.
Qatar already has four C-17 Globemaster IIIs in service, and put in an order for four more last year.
Capable of carrying large equipment, supplies and troops directly to small airfields, they have been used to deliver humanitarian aid around the world.
The aircraft is manufactured by Boeing, which appears to have clinched a much larger deal with Qatar last month.
At that time, another US agency had approved the sale of some 72 fighter jets to Qatar, worth a potential $21.1 billion.
That deal, for 72 F-15QA aircraft, will include ground support, training packages and maintenance equipment.
Qatar’s spending on military equipment has soared in recent years as it adds more missiles, aircraft and ships to its arsenal.
Last year, one report forecast that defense spending would rise by an average of 12 percent annually through 2020.
Another said that military purchases would remain at “elevated levels” in the short-term.
Experts say this is in part to deter any threats to Qatar’s offshore energy reserves. Military clout could also help Qatar wield more influence in the region.