Qatar, the world’s top liquefied natural gas exporter, is using its gas money to cash in on some top-of-the-line U.S. supplied military hardware.
Qatar’s defense minister, Hamad Bin Ali al-Attiyah, met with Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and signed acceptance letters for $11 billion worth of Apache attack helicopters, Patriot missile defense batteries and anti-tank Javelin missiles, the Pentagon said in a statement Monday.
“Today’s signing ceremony underscores the strong partnership between the United States and Qatar in the area of security and defense and will help improve our bilateral cooperation across a range of military operations,” said Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary.
The MIM-104 Patriot is a long-range surface-to-air missile system known primarily for its anti-ballistic missile capabilities, while the FGM-148 Javelin is an anti-tank missile system that also has the ability to engage low-flying helicopters.
In March, Qatar announced it would spend $23 billion to purchase a slew of attack helicopters, mid-air refueling tankers and guided missiles from companies like Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.
In addition to its contracts with American defense giants, Qatar has also agree to buy a number of NH90 helicopters from NHIndustries for $2.76 billion. Airbus’ Eurocopter helicopter unit is the majority shareholder in NHIndustries.
Qatar, like other Gulf and Middle Eastern countries, has drastically increased defense spending in recent years.
“This is a critically important relationship in the region,” Kirby said. “And the secretary is pleased to be able to continue to make it stronger.”