DOHA (AFP) –
Qatar announced Wednesday it was spending three billion euros ($3.71 billion) to buy 28 military helicopters, its latest high-profile defence purchase during a bitter diplomatic rift with its Gulf neighbours.
The deal for the NH90 helicopters was announced by Qatar’s defence ministry at a military hardware conference in Doha.
Italian defence contractor Leonardo 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.
“We are proud to have signed this contract that expands and continues Leonardo’s strong and long-term partnership with Qatar,” said Alessandro Profumo, Leonardo’s chief executive.
He said the delivery of the helicopters should begin in 2022.
Also on Wednesday, Qatar announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with US defence contractor Raytheon covering the area of cyber security.
Qatar has been isolated by a group of neighbouring countries and former allies led by Saudi Arabia for the past nine months in a rancorous political, diplomatic and economic dispute.
Its defence minister, Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, has said the bloc of countries opposed to Qatar has considered an invasion of the World Cup 2022 host.
Since the Gulf political crisis started, an increasingly vulnerable Qatar has spent some $30 billion (25 billion euros) on military hardware.
Among the purchases are F-15 planes from the United States, a Rafale fighter jet deal with France and another for Typhoon aircraft from the Britain.
© 2018 AFP