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Qatari Amiri Land Force

By 2010 Qatar's Army was comprised of 8500 personnel who are divided among four mechanized infantry battalions, one armor battalion, one artillery battalion, one air defense battery, one special forces company, and three Royal Guard infantry regiments. While Qatar has a relatively smaller population, its army is a very capable force, specifically against terrorist attacks in part due to its training by Western and other Middle East allies. Its primary army post is located in the capital, Doha but its forces regularly patrol Dukhan and Umm Bab. Along with being trained by its allies, the Qatari army has also participated in joint exercises with fellow GCC states as well as the United States.

Initially outfitted with British weaponry, Qatar shifted much of its procurement to France during the 1980s in response to French efforts to develop closer relations. The tank battalion is equipped with French-built AMX-30 main battle tanks. Other armored vehicles include French AMX-10P APCs and the French VAB, which has been adopted as the standard wheeled combat vehicle. The artillery unit had a few French 155mm self-propelled howitzers. The principal antitank weapons were French Milan and HOT wire-guided missiles. Qatar had also illicitly acquired a few Stinger shoulder-fired SAMs, possibly from Afghan rebel groups, at a time when the United States was trying to maintain tight controls on Stingers in the Middle East. When Qatar refused to turn over the missiles, the United States Senate in 1988 imposed a ban on the sale of all weapons to Qatar. The ban was repealed in late 1990 when Qatar satisfactorily accounted for its disposition of the Stingers.

In early 1998 Qatar received the first of 40 Piranha II 8 x 8 light armouredvehicles (LAVs) built by GKN Defence. They were ordered in 1996 as part of aPds500 million ($818 million) contract for defence equipment placed with British Aerospace. The first two vehicles were in the command post configuration and were be followed by 36 fitted with the Belgian Cockerill LCTS turret armed with a Cockerill KEnerga Mk 8 90mm gun; and two repairand recovery vehicles. This was the third GKN Defence export order from the Middle East for Piranha vehicles.

Royal Guard Brigade
U/I Infantry regiment
U/I Infantry regiment
U/I Infantry regiment
Qatari Army
U/I Special Forces Company
U/I Mechanized Infantry Battalion
U/I Mechanized Infantry Battalion
U/I Mechanized Infantry Battalion
U/I Artillery battalion
U/I Artillery battery
U/I Artillery battery
U/I Artillery battery
U/I Artillery battery
U/I Anti-aircraft battery
U/I Armored Brigade
U/I Mortar company
U/I Tank battalion
U/I Mechanized Infantry Battalion
U/I Anti-tank battalion
The lack of sufficient indigenous manpower to staff the armed forces is a continuing problem. By one estimate, in the early 1990s Qatari citizens constitute only 30 percent of the army, in which more than twenty nationalities are represented. Many of the officers are of the royal family or members of leading tribes. Enlisted personnel are recruited from beduin tribes that move between Qatar and Saudi Arabia and from other Arab groups. Many Pakistanis serve in combat units. In 1992 there were still a number of British officers, as well as Britons, French, Jordanians, and Pakistanis in advisory or technical positions. More young Qataris are being recruited, and the number of trained and competent Qatari officers is steadily increasing.

During the Persian Gulf War, the Qatari tank battalion was deployed to the Saudi-Iraqi border as part of Joint Forces Command East. Saudi and Qatari forces that had dug in to defend the road leading south from the border town of Ras al Khafji were forced to withdraw when the Iraqis made their only incursion onto Saudi territory on January 29, 1991. The campaign to retake Khafji began late January 30th, when Saudi forces, backed by Qatari tanks and by American Marines, tried to move up the coastal highway that bisects the town. This would constitute the first engagement by modern Saudi Arabian military forces and it was the first action the six-year-old Qatari army had ever seen. With no combat experience and only marginal training, the battalion’s prospects for a difficult night attack against the Iraqis were dismal. The Saudi unit did not have maps of the city and the commander had only the vaguest idea of what they would do once his men got there other than attack any Iraqis they could find. No plan existed to facilitate communication between the Saudis and the Qataris.

The three Saudi battalions and the one tank battalion from Qatar maintained contact with the Iraqi forces and participated in the coalition counter-attack that drove the Iraqis out of the town with considerable losses. By some accounts the Qatari contingent, composed mostly of Pakistani recruits, acquitted itself well. Other accounts relate that two attack were little more than a rush forward, and confusion reigned. In the chaos, the Qatari’s began to fire on the Saudis. In later actions in Khafji, Qatari forces repeatedly dashed in for sharp exchanges of cannon fire and heavy machine guns and then retreated beyond the city line to regroup. On 01 February 1991 the city of Al-Khafji was declared liberated. The Qatari battalion also formed part of the Arab forces that advanced across Iraqi positions toward the city of Kuwait during the general coalition offensive on February 24, 1991.

In May 2009 land forces commander Fahad Al-Khayreen became involved in a dispute between one of his relatives and a member of another tribe. The dispute reportedly culminated in a night-time exchange of gunfire in Doha between members of the two families, and quite possibly involved Al-Khayreen himself. The Amir reportedly returned from abroad to settle this dispute and Al-Khayreen was notified that he would be retired from military service.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress 21 December 2012 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for rocket and missile systems and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $406 million. The Government of Qatar has requested a possible sale of 7 M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) Launchers with the Universal Fire Control System (UFCS); 60 M57 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) Block 1A T2K Unitary Rockets (60 pods, 1 rocket per pod); 360 M31A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) Unitary Rockets (60 pods, 6 rockets per pod); 180 M28A2 Reduced Range Practice Rockets (30 pods, 6 rockets per pod); 7 M68A2 Trainers, 1 Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS); 2 M1151A1 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV); and 2 M1152A2 HMMWVs. Also included are simulators, generators, transportation, wheeled vehicles, communications equipment, spare and repair parts, support equipment, tools and test equipment, technical data and publications, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. government and contractor engineering, technical and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support.

By 2013 the Emirate of Qatar was in the process of modernizing its land forces, comprising some 8500 soldiers, which operate a fleet of tanks and artillery that is in parts more than 40 years old. Therefore, Qatar signed a contract with the German defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) about the delivery of 24 artillery systems PzH 2000 and 62 LEOPARD 2 main battle tanks. The project´s total amount reaches €1.89 billion, including the delivery of peripheral equipment, training installations and additional services. The systems delivered to Qatar by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann were intended to progressively replace the emirates outdated artillery and tanks of French and South African origin, which would be scrapped. Qatar had discusses the possible purchase of 200 German Leopard tanks. The potential value of the contract may amount to approximately $ 2.5 billion. Qatar is likely to consider the possibility of buying the newest varieties of German tank.

Determined to boost its military capabilities on land, Qatar has sought to dramatically expand its fleet of main battle tanks. It bought and seen the delivery of 62 highly advanced German Leopard 2A7, arguably one of the best tanks on the market. These have been adapted to fight specifically in high temperatures and the sandy terrain of the desert. A 2017 agreement signed with France, for 490 VBCI armored vehicles from Nexter, is estimated to be valued at $1.7 billion.

In addition, there was an order for 100 Turkish Altay main battle tanks. However, the program ran into trouble as its development flounders, adding to delays in production. It is now unlikely any Altay tanks will be delivered before 2022.

By 2021 the Qatari Army fielded a far larger force of armour, especially when combined with the recent purchase of self-propelled artillery from Germany and short-range ballistic missiles from China. Qatar also expressed an interest in purchasing Russia’s effective, yet politically controversial, S-400 air defence system.

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