Subscribe Free
in Features

Qatar planning a rotorcraft revolution

Posted 12 November 2012 · Add Comment

Qatar is embarking on an ambitious plan to recapitalise its military helicopter fleet.

Details of the Qatari helicopter procurement plan emerged in July, when the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) asked the US Congress to approve a number of orders from Qatar.

The fleet currently comprises one squadron equipped with Aerospatiale SA342 Gazelle light attack helicopters and two squadrons equipped with about 12 Westland Sea King Commandos – one tasked with tactical transport and one with maritime reconnaissance, ASW and anti-surface vessel attack.

The initial DSCA request covered US $3.5 billion (Dh12.85bn) worth of helicopters and associated weapons systems, support equipment, training and support, including in-country pilot and maintenance training.

The helicopters consisted of 22 Sikorsky MH-60 Seahawks (10 MH-60R Seahawks for ASW and ASuW with No. 8 Anti-Surface Vessel Squadron, and 12 MH-60S Knighthawks for tactical transport, assault and mine detection with No. 9 Multi-Role Squadron) as well as 12 UH-60 Black Hawks, with an option to purchase an additional six MH-60S aircraft at a later date.

Days later, the DSCA notified Congress of a possible US $3.0 billion Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Qatar of 24 AH-64D Apache Block III Longbow Attack Helicopters and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.

These would replace the ageing and lightweight Gazelles of No. 6 Close Support Squadron, operating in the close air support, armed reconnaissance and anti-tank warfare roles.

The proposed sale would include 12 AN/APG-78 Longbow fire control radars for the 24 aircraft, together with a package of weapons including 4,092 2.75inch Hydra rockets, 576 AGM-114R Hellfire II missiles and 295 FIM-92H Stinger reprogrammable micro processor (RMP) Block I missiles.

The DSCA notifications to Congress underlined Qatar’s importance as an ally, a strategic partner, and as an “important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East”. They also highlighted the enhanced interoperability that would result from any sale to Qatar, as well as the resulting improvements to Qatar’s ability to meet current and future threats and to provide greater security for its critical oil and natural gas infrastructure.

As an important host to US Central Command forces in the region, Qatar is a vital training and operational partner to the US, and the acquisition of MH-60 and AH-64 helicopters will allow greater integration with US forces for exercises and operations, thereby contributing to regional security.

The DSCA concluded that the proposed sales would not alter the basic military balance in the region.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

Boeing Helena site expands to support 777X aircraft production

Boeing employees and community members have commemorated the 90,000 square-foot expansion of Boeing Helena to support 777X airplane production.

International Youth Day takes off with Qatar Airways

A Qatar Airways captain helped International Youth Day take off at Doha's KidzMondo – located in the Mall of Qatar – with the aid of two would-be pilots.

Emirates to deploy extra flights for the upcoming Hajj season

Emirates will be operating extra flights to Jeddah to help facilitate travel for thousands of pilgrims this year heading to and from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

RJ launches new online premium services

Royal Jordanian Airlines is now offering three online services to its guests, in order to enhance their travel experience at all stages.

ADA takes full control of former JV

The Abu Dhabi Aviation Group (ADA), the UAE-capital based aviation concern which owns the Middle East's largest commercial helicopter operation as well cargo airline Maximus Cargo and holds equity in the VIP luxury charter operator

Chiang Mai becomes Qatar Airways' fourth Thai destination

Qatar Airways will launch flights to beautiful Chiang Mai, its fourth destination in Thailand, as it expands to meet increased demand for Thai destinations from holiday-makers. The new route comes in addition to existing services to

TAA SK 12MTHS16
See us at
DAS BT1105161117Aviation Africa BT18418RMIT BT1631817Aviation Show 267291117AIME BT1204240118DASAS BT3006161117Commercial Aircraft Financing BT2017Global Aerospace BT28218DIAC BT1105121117