Doha, September 18: Amid Gulf crisis, Qatar on Sunday signed an agreement with Britain to buy 24 Typhoon fighter jets with an aim to boost its strength of defence system. Notably, Qatar's Defence Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah and his British counterpart Michael Fallon signed a letter of intent to purchase 24 Typhoon jets.
However, this is the second major defence deal signed by Qatar during its diplomatic disputes with its Gulf neighbours including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. The Qatar News Agency (QNA) said, “The letter of intent includes the ministry’s intention to purchase 24 modern Typhoon aircraft with all their equipment.” The QNA also noted that this is the first major defence contract with Britain.
On the other side, Britain’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement that this will be the first major defence contract with Qatar, one of the UK’s strategic partners. “We also hope that this will help enhance security within the region across all Gulf allies,” the statement said.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is a joint project between BAE, France’s Airbus and Italy’s Finmeccanica and supports an estimated 40,000 jobs in Britain. Interestingly, neither statement gave the cost of the combat jet deal. Earlier, in 2014, BAE agreed to supply Saudi Arabia with 72 Typhoon jets in a deal worth 4.43 billion pounds ($6 billion).
Also, in June this year, Qatar announces to buy F-15 jets from the US in a $12bn deal. And in 2016, Qatar purchased 24 Dassault Rafale fighter jets from France. Importantly, the purchase of weapons come after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt cut ties with Qatar on June 5, accusing it of backing "extremism" and having close ties with their rival Iran. Qatar has repeatedly denied the charges, claiming the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty.