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Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) Fighters - F-15QA

On 28 September 2016 US officials began notifying US lawmakers about the sale of 36 Boeing F-15 fighter jets to Qatar. Had the deal not gone through, the F-15 production line would have been halted. The deal paved the way for the three Middle Eastern countries to receive F-15E Strike Eagles, F/A-18 Super Hornets, and F-16 fighters. Kuwait and Qatar requested the sale of the fighters two years ago, and while the US Congress approved of the deal, the White House had been dragging its feet.

Part of the reason for the delay focused on Israeli objections. The United States is legally bound to ensure that Israel maintains a military edge in the region. Washington recently agreed on an historic military aid deal that provides Israel with $38 billion over the next ten years. Israel also objected to the Qatari sale, arguing that the country supports Sunni Islamic extremists.

By April 2015 the Pentagon and State Department had signed off the separate deals which would send 36 Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle fighters to Qatar [some sources spoke of 75 fighters] and 24 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets to Kuwait. Qatar had requested 36 F-15 fighter jets, a roughly $4 billion sale, with an option to buy up to an additional 36. The Qatari sale was worth roughly $4 billion, the Kuwaiti deal around $3 billion. Both offers had been on the table for more than two years awaiting final approval from the White House. Qatar had asked for approval from the US Government to purchase up to 72 F-15E Strike Eagle derivatives. Almost two years later and after the Iran Nuclear Agreement has been implemented, there were hopes the deal may finally be allowed to move forward.

Defense One reported that the Qatar deal had been put on hold while the US negotiated a 10-year, $38 billion security package with Israel for 2018-2028. Defense News reported in February that Israel opposed the Qatar sale, unless the new aid deal included a few billion dollars more to allow Israel to upgrade its own fleet. The new Washington deal for Jerusalem $3.8 billion a year for 10 years is a record for defense aid to a country. Defense News reported that Israel was hoping for a deal closer to $50 billion over the same time frame.

Defense One reported 11 October 2016 that the late September 2016 decision to sell $7 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets to Qatar and Kuwait, which had been delayed for over two years by Israeli fears that the weapons would be turned against Jerusalem, was finally allowed to pave the way for a purchase by Qatar Airways of the Boeing jetliners. The fighter jet sale was widely reported as approved September 28, and the Qatar Airways deal, announced October 7, followed it by just over a week. When asked during a Washington DC news conference the day the purchase was announced whether the sales were connected, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker said, We dont relate anything to anything. Qatar Airways has an independent policy of ordering airplanes. So nothing is attached to anything.

The State Department made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar for F-15QA aircraft with weapons and related support, equipment, and training. The estimated cost is $21.1 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on November 17, 2016.

The Government of Qatar requested to purchase seventy-two (72) F-15QA multi-role fighter aircraft and associated weapons package; the provision for continental United States based Lead-in-Fighter-Training for the F-15QA; associated ground support; training materials; mission critical resources and maintenance support equipment; the procurement for various weapon support and test equipment spares; technical publications; personnel training; simulators and other training equipment; U.S. Government and contractor engineering; technical and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistical and program support. The estimated total program value is $21.1 billion.

This proposed sale enhances the foreign policy and national security of the United State by helping to improve the security of a friendly country and strengthening our strategically important relationship. Qatar is an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Persian Gulf region. Our mutual defense interests anchor our relationship and the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) plays a predominant role in Qatar's defense. The proposed sale improves Qatar's capability to meet current and future enemy air-to-air and air-to-ground threats. Qatar will use the capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces. The proposed sale of this aircraft, equipment, training, and support services will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

The prime contractor will be Boeing Corporation of Chicago, IL. The Purchaser typically requests offsets. Any offset agreement will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor.

Qatar's Ministry of Defense said on 14 June 2017 the country signed a deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States for US$12 billion. The deal was completed despite the Gulf country being criticized recently by US President Donald Trump and its neighbors for supporting terrorism. Trump had signaled his support for the Saudi-led move but other US officials have been more cautious and called for dialogue to end the crisis.

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and his Qatari counterpart Khalid al-Attiyah signed a letter of agreement to close the deal. Bloomberg news reported it involves 36 US-manufactured jets. "The 12 billion US dollar sale will give Qatar a state-of-the-art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar," the Pentagon said in a statement.

Mattis and al-Attiyah also discussed mutual security concerns, including ISIL and the importance of de-escalating tensions so all partners in the Gulf region can focus on next steps in meeting common goals. Trump had accused Qatar of being a "high-level" sponsor of terrorism, potentially hindering the US Department of State's efforts to ease heightening tensions and a blockade of the Gulf nation by Arab states and others.

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Page last modified: 15-06-2017 13:05:08 ZULU