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

Emirates signs partnership deal with Nigeria's Arik Air

Emirates has signed an MoU with Nigerian airline Arik Air to develop and expand their existing commercial relationship and explore further areas of co-operation.

New CEO for Oman Air

Oman Air has appointed Paul Gregorowitsch as its new CEO in a move hailed as “the start of a new chapter in the illustrious development, at local, regional and international levels, of the national carrier”, by its chairman Darwish bin

Etihad concludes 49% investment deal with AlItalia

Etihad finally signed its deal with AlItalia this morning which exceeds the investment levels expected with a $2.35bn injection to build what it described as a “reinvigorated Alitalia as a competitive sustainably profitable

Etihad's "biggest investment" in Alitalia is going ahead

Etihad has confirmed it has reached agreement with AlItalia to buy 49% of the troubled airline.

New $5bn Shariah leasing fund for Airbus aircraft in the Gulf

Quantum Investment Bank and Palma Capital - both based in the Dubai International Financial Centre - have been retained as the exclusive placement agents for the launch of a shariah compliant aircraft leasing fund (ALIF) to be managed by

Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner gets FAA, EASA certification

Boeing's 787-9 Dreamliner - ordered by both Etihad Airways and Saudia -has been certified by the American Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) for commercial service.

Lufthansa Technic
See us at
Aviation Outlook Middle East 2014Helishow 2014AVIATION AFRICA 2015MEBAA  Regional ConferenceFuture Air TransportMEBA 2014