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Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Transports

Qatar, with a population of fewer than 250,000 citizens, will never be a military power. Having its sights set on regional diplomacy and mediation is quite realistic, however. What resources Qatar is putting into its military are aimed at providing airlift capacity for humanitarian interventions. Qatar has taken possession of U.S.-supplied C-17 aircraft, and Qatar used a C-17 to deliver humanitarian assistance to Haiti.

On 09 July 2008 the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Qatar of logistics support and training for two C- 17 Globemaster III aircraft and associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $400 million. The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of logistics support and training for two (2) C-17 Globemaster III aircraft being procured through a Direct Commercial Sale, spare and repair parts, support equipment, publications and technical data, flight engineer training, communications equipment, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, preparation of aircraft for shipment, and other related elements of logistics support.

Boeing and the government of Qatar signed an agreement on 21 July 2008 for the purchase of the C-17 Globemaster III airlifter to provide new strategic-airlift mobility capabilities for the Qatar Armed Forces (QAF). To better participate in humanitarian lift operations around the world, the Qatari government signed a contract in the summer of 2008 to acquire C-17 transport aircraft, the first of which Boeing delivered in August 2009 at its C-17 production facility in Long Beach, CA. Qatar Airways had been a solid customer for Boeing Commercial Airplanes and is acquiring 777 and 787-series aircraft. Now, Qatar was becoming an important market for Integrated Defense Systems as well. Key opportunities there include fixed-wing aircraft, training solutions and industrial partnerships. The U.S. Air Force, including active Guard and Reserve units, has 175 C-17s. The Royal Air Force had six, the Canadian Forces four and the Royal Australian Air Force four.

Boeing delivered the Qatar Emiri Air Force's fourth C-17 Globemaster III 10 December 2012 in Long Beach, California. The delivery reflects Qatar's agreement with the U.S. government to acquire two additional C-17s, which brought the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) fleet of the world's most advanced airlifters to a total of four as the C-17 continues to attract orders worldwide. Qatar received its third airlifter earlier in 2012. During the year Qatars C-17s supported the NATO-led operation in Libya and provided relief for drought victims in Kenya. In early 2010, QEAF C-17s delivered humanitarian aid to Haiti and Chile following devastating earthquakes.

In June 2015 Qatar reached an agreement with Boeing to purchase four more of the American-based aviation company's C-17 Globemasters cargo aircraft. The four additional C-17s will double Qatars fleet. "We are very pleased with the C-17s from Boeing and look forward to doubling our fleet to enhance worldwide operations," Qatar Emiri Air Force deputy commander General Ahmed Al-Malki said. Boeing stopped producing the C-17 after building 279 of the planes. Foreign countries looked to purchase 10 of the C-17 Globemasters that Boeing produced without a buyer before production started.

At ceremonies 28 September 2011 at the Lockheed Martin facility in Marietta Georgia, company officials formally delivered four C-130J Super Hercules airlifters to the State of Qatar. The Qatar Emiri Air Forces new Super Hercules are the longer fuselage or stretched variant of the C-130J. The aircraft will be used for humanitarian relief and military missions for the defense of the State of Qatar. The new airlift fleet ferried to Qatar in October. It is a historic day for both the Qatar Armed Forces and Lockheed Martin as we welcome Qatar into the global C-130 family, said Lorraine Martin, Lockheed Martin vice president for C-130 programs. This acquisition of a fleet of C-130Js provides Qatar with a highly flexible airlift capability. As the first C-130J operator in the Middle-East, Qatar takes a unique place in C-130 history. This is Qatars first experience with C-130s and Lockheed Martin is providing a complete solution package. The package includes the four aircraft; aircrew and maintenance training; spares; ground support and test equipment; and a team of technical specialists who will be based in Qatar during an initial support period.

Qatar Amiri Flight

The government operated Qatar Amiri Flight operates a wide variety of VIP aircraft from Doha International. For government and VIP transport, as of 2003 the Emir Wing operated single civil-registered examples of the Airbus A340-221, Boeing 707-336C and -3P1C, Boeing 727-2P1 and two Dassault Falcon 900s.

On 3 September 2003, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Qatar of an AN/AAQ-24(V) NEMESIS Directional Infrared Countermeasures System as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $61 million. Qatar would install the AN/AAQ-24(V) NEMESIS system on a new Airbus 340-500. They will use the system for the movement and protection of their Head of State [HOS]. Qatar requested LAIRCM for its HoS aircraft. The request was approved then, but for unknown reasons Qatar never signed the Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA). The LOA subsequently expired.

Qatar submitted another Letter of Request (LOR) in 2006 but a decision on that request suffered lengthy delays and finally came back negative.

Qatar Airways (not the State of Qatar) submitted Letters of Request (LORs) in July and September 2007 requesting installation of the AN/AAQ-24 (LAIRCM) infra-red counter-measure system on several of their HoS aircraft -- 2 x A330s, 1 x A340, and 2 x B747-800s. The US Government approval authority for LAIRCM, the OSD(AT&L) Defensive Systems Committee (DSC), denied the reques. The classified USAF policy guidelines for export of LAIRCM to non Tier-1 countries requires HoS aircraft to be wholly government-owned, and exclusively used for HoS travel. The Qatar HoS aircraft were owned and operated by Qatar Airways, which is only 50% government owned.

A comprehensive intelligence assessment, which included Qatar's international relationships, technology protection capability, and security capability, identified a significant risk of technology exploitation. Qatar had no secure facilities or procedures to store the aircraft; and Qatar had no vetting process for the technicians who would maintain and service the LAIRCM systems. Qatar initially designated upwards of 11 aircraft as HoS vessels, which Secretary of the Air Force/International Affairs (SAF/IA) thought excessive. It is not entirely clear why SAF/IA believed it was entitled to judge whether the aviation assets of a foreign potentate were "excessive". Qatar reduced the number of aircraft it designated as HOS (to two) and transferred them to the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) in an effort to address US concerns. It stated its desire to submit a new request for LAIRCM. By the end of 2012 there was no public evidence that a US sale had been concluded, but it is entirely possible the matter had been resolved behind closed doors.

By mid-2011 what was said to be the world's largest private jet currently in existence, the Boeing 747-800 BBJ Is almost ready for delivery to one of its first customers, the Amir of Qatar. In February 2012 Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental VIP airplane to an undisclosed customer. To date, undisclosed customers had ordered nine 747-8 VIP airplanes. The airplane, which was delivered with a minimal interior, will enter service in 2014 after its VIP interior is installed. The 747-8 VIP jet is the only large airplane in its class that fits todays airport infrastructure, giving its owners the flexibility to fly to more destinations. Building on the current 747's capability to fly into most airports worldwide, the 747-8 VIP uses the same pilot type ratings, services and most ground support equipment. 747-8 VIP aircraft is based on the 747-8 Intercontinental (747-8I), the new stretched 747 model that the company is developing.

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