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Qatar Emiri Naval Forces (QENF)

At the time of independence on September 3, 1971, the armed forces consisted of little more than the Royal Guard Regiment and some scattered units equipped with a few armored cars and four aircraft. By 1992 it had grown to a force of 7,500, including a navy of 700. Three French-built La Combattante III missile boats, which entered service in 1983, formed the core of the navy in the 1990s. The boats supplement six older Vosper Thornycroft large patrol boats. A variety of smaller craft are operated by the marine police.

Unable to support a large military establishment, Qatar has placed its reliance on small but mobile forces that can deter border incursions. Nevertheless, the Iran-Iraq War brought attacks on shipping just beyond its territorial waters, underscoring its vulnerability to interference with oil shipments and vital imports.

Doha (Ad Dawhah) (2517 N, 5132 E) is the principal commercial port in Qatar. The town and port occupy the S side of a bay which is almost enclosed between reefs. The low nearby terrain consists of undulating deserts. A Qatari naval harbor is situated 1/2 nm NE of Pa's Abu Abbud. Vessels with mooring depth of up to 8.3 m and length of 183 m can be accommodated. U.S. Navy patrol craft normally berth here. U.S. Navy ships typically berth at berths 10 and 11 on the Container Terminal attached to the T shaped jetty. The berths are 600 m (1968 ft) long with minumum draft 12 m ( 39 ft). U.S. Navy ships up to LHD size berth here. The concrete berths are modern and well constructed with bollards 27 m apart.

By 2008 the Qataris finally settled on a location for a new naval base in the north of the peninsula. They had not finalized the plan or chosen a contractor (Bechtel wants the contract). They made clear that the base will be large enough to host the largest U.S. naval vessels and very much want the U.S. to utilize it. The Qataris have mentioned that the port could be used as a Seaport for military cargo and logistics support. The Qataris also have plans to develop a major new commercial port south of Doha and intend it to be large enough to accomodate the largest U.S. Naval vessels, including aircraft carriers.

By 2010 Qatar's naval force was comprised of 1800 personnel, which included Marine Police and possess 21 patrol and coastal combatants along with one amphibious craft. Its capabilities include patrolling its coastal waterway, although only for short periods of time, anti-smuggling, and anti-piracy missions, and its primary goal is to maintain the sovereignty of its country. Its operates out of its two naval bases located in Doha and Halul Island and conducts training with other GCC states while being trained at home as well as in France and the UK. While the majority of its naval assets are decades old, it continues to refurbish its antiquated equipment in order to continue to effectively complete its missions.

Qatar's Coast Guard and Navy are under-trained, under-staffed, and under-equipped given the massive scale of their on-shore and off-shore energy infrastructure. Qatar's offshore oil and gas platforms were vulnerable to attack and/or seizure by terrorists or Iranian proxies. Observers also highlight the vulnerability of LNG tankers, either at sea or in port, which could be scuppered to block passage into the Ras Laffan facilities or could potentially be used as a weapon against the port, not unlike a commercial aircraft.

USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) called on the port of Doha, Qatar, 11 October 2004 for a three-day ground breaking visit. The first U.S. warship to visit the port in more than two years, Harpers Ferry Sailors enjoyed the sights and venues of this city and were able to play host to a few young visitors from local schools. USS Underwood (FFG 36) arrived in Doha on 13 May 2007 for a two-day port visit to take part in "Qatar-American Friendship Day" and enhance theater security cooperation within the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations (AOO). During the visit, Underwood Sailors took part in many events designed to help build and foster relationships between the U.S. and Qatari Navies.

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Page last modified: 18-11-2018 19:10:01 ZULU