Qatar signs 3-billion-euro military helicopter deal with Italy
Qatar and Italy have signed a 3-billion-euro deal for the sale of 28 military helicopters to Doha amid a diplomatic rift in the Persian Gulf region, which pits a Saudi-led quartet of states against Qatar.
The pact for the NH90 helicopters was announced by Qatar’s Defense Ministry at a military hardware conference in Doha on Wednesday.
Italian aerospace and defense group Leonardo (LDOF.MI) will act as the main contractor in the deal, although it was officially signed with the NHI consortium, which also includes Airbus and Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker.
Leonardo said in a statement that under the deal, the consortium would supply 28 medium sized twin-engine NH90 military helicopters in its two variants for land and naval missions, and for support, maintenance and training services.
It said that a further 12 units could be added to the deal and that the first deliveries would take place before June 2022 and would continue until 2025.
Also on Wednesday, Qatar announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with US defense contractor Raytheon covering the area of cyber security.
Doha has recently signed security agreement with the NATO military alliance, enabling forces with the military alliance to enter and transit the Persian Gulf state and use its al-Ubeid Air Base, the largest US military base in the Middle East.
The deal is expected to facilitate NATO missions and operations in the region, including the Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan, a follow-on mission for the US-led forces who formally ended their combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014.