Britain’s defense group BAE Systems has entered into deal with Qatar worth almost $7 billion for supply of 24 Typhoon jet fighters to the gulf state.
BAE shares rose almost 3pc after the announcement on Sunday. The of sale includes jets along with a training and support package. BAE, Airbus and Italy’s Leonardo each have a one-third share in the Typhoon program.
Qatar’s purchase also included an agreement for supply of Brimstone and Meteor missiles and Raytheon’s Paveway IV laser-guided bombs. The missiles are made by weapons manufacturer MBDA – which is jointly owned by BAE, Airbus and Leonardo.
Combined, the aircraft, missiles, weapons, training and support is valued at about $8 billion, according to the joint UK-Qatar announcement, The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday.
Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE, said: “We are delighted to begin a new chapter in the development of a long-term relationship with the State of Qatar and the Qatar Armed Forces, and we look forward to working alongside our customer as they continue to develop their military capability.”
The sale is the biggest export order for Typhoons in a decade with deliveries due to start in 2022.
Selling the aircraft to Qatar will “support thousands of British manufacturing jobs”, said Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, who oversaw the signing to the agreement in Doha.
“The two countries share mutual interests of countering violent extremism, and ensuring stability in the region, and this purchase will deepen those ties by helping to prevent terrorism from spreading and protecting our prosperity and security at home,” the British Defense Secretary said.
Berenberg analysts have said that Qatar buying Typhoons was not out of military necessity, but instead about strengthening the country’s political ties with the West as it faces troubles closer to home.
Much of Qatar’s wealth comes from being one of the world’s largest exporters of liquefied natural gas, and the proceeds from this are used to invest internationally. Qatar is a leading investor in the UK, where it has sunk more than £40bn into assets including stakes in Canary Wharf, the Shard, and Harrods.
However, Qatar faces problems closer to home. Several of the country’s neighbors – including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – have severed diplomatic and trade ties with the country, accusing it of supporting terrorism and criticizing its relationship with Iran.
Other recent defense deals highlight Qatar’s attempts to build relationships with the West. In the past year the small nation has agreed to spend $20bn building up its air force, buying F-15 jets from the US and Rafales from France.
Qatar is the ninth country to buy the Typhoon, with other customers including Saudi Arabia. Talks about a second batch of sales to the kingdom are ongoing, report BBC.