Gulf Nations’ Arms Bonanza

In November and December, the US State Department announced details of fighter aircraft (from the governments of Kuwait and Qatar on November 17) and helicopter (from the governments of the UAE and Saudi Arabia on December 8) purchase proposals by four Persian Gulf nations. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has delivered the required certification for each of the multibillion dollar sales to the US Congress.

The Government of Qatar requested to purchase 72 F-15QA Strike Eagle multi-role fighter aircraft and many items that included weapons; provision for US-based lead-infighter- training; ground support; personnel training; and simulators. This is a foreign military sales programme valued at $21.1 billion.

Qatar’s request for 72 F-15QA Strike Eagles represents a major increase in the combat air power capability of the Qatar Emiri Air Force which is currently provided by Mirage 2000-5 fighters assigned to 7 Air Superiority Squadron based at Doha.

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