By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – A multi-billion-pound fighter jet deal between the U.K. and Qatar is now officially in place following the first payment from the Qatari government, a statement said Tuesday.
Qatar will import 24 Typhoon jets and nine Hawk trainers, the British government said, under the £5 billion ($6.58 billion) contract, which will be delivered by BAE Systems’ factories in Warton and Brough.
British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson welcomed the news, saying the government and industry “can be extremely proud to see it reach this stage.”
“It’s a massive boost to the British defense industry, helping to support thousands of jobs, and it will help us further build the trust between the U.K. and Qatar to tackle the challenges we both share, support stability in the region, and deliver security at home,” Williamson said.
The deal was signed between Williamson and his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammed al Attiyah in Doha last December.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the British government is “proud to be a part of this hugely significant export contract.”
Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems’ CEO, said the contract “represents a significant step in BAE Systems’ long-term relationship with the state of Qatar, as it becomes the ninth country to choose Typhoon.”
“The proven combination of Typhoon and Hawk will provide the Qatari Armed Forces with the most advanced and flexible multi-role combat aircraft on the market today, along with best in class support and training,” Woodburn said.
-Training and cooperation
The delivery of the first Typhoon is expected in 2022, according to the statement.
“The deal also involves a package of training and cooperation between the British and Qatari Air Forces which will see them working closely together in the future,” it said.
“The U.K. and Qatar share mutual interests in countering violent extremism, and ensuring stability in the region, and the deal further reinforces those ties by helping to prevent terrorism from spreading and protecting the prosperity and security of the U.K. at home,” the statement added.
The Typhoon FGR.Mk 4 is described by the Royal Air Force as a “highly capable and extremely agile fourth-generation multi-role combat aircraft, capable of being deployed for the full spectrum of air operations, including air policing, peace support and high-intensity conflict.”
In the air-to-air role, it employs the infrared-guided Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM) and radar-guided, beyond visual range Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM).
For ground-attack and close air support (CAS) missions, the Typhoon is compatible with the GPS/laser-guided Enhanced Paveway II and Paveway IV weapons.