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Qatar closes in on Typhoon acquisition

Qatar has signalled its intention to acquire 24 Eurofighter Typhoons, in a move which would further strengthen its future air combat capabilities.

Details of the planned purchase emerged following a government-to-government meeting conducted in Doha on 17 September.

"After a number of years of negotiations between our two countries, I am delighted to have been able to sign with Qatar's defence minister this statement of intent on the purchase of 24 Typhoon aircraft," says UK defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon. Doha had previously considered the Eurofighter product alongside Dassault's Rafale, before signing a 24-unit order for the French-built type in 2015.

Eurofighter partner company BAE Systems says it "welcomes a formal statement of intent between the governments of the UK and Qatar on the potential purchase of 24 Typhoon aircraft for the future military and training requirements of the Qatar armed forces."

The company – which has already supplied Typhoons to Gulf customers Oman and Saudi Arabia – adds that with discussions between Doha and London ongoing, "it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time".

In addition to its Rafale order, Qatar's ongoing air force modernisation programme includes a contract for 36 Boeing F-15QAs. It also has been identified as a prospective customer for the US manufacturer's F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows the Qatar Emiri Air Force's current air combat capability as comprising nine Dassault Mirage 2000-5 fighters and six armed Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets.

If concluded, a Typhoon deal would further strengthen Eurofighter's sales performance in the Middle East. In addition to the Royal Saudi Air Force having fielded 72 examples, Oman is currently introducing an eventually 12-strong fleet. Italy's Leonardo is, meanwhile, lead partner on a deal to supply 28 of the type to Kuwait, with its aircraft to be the first equipped with a new active electronically scanned array radar.

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