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US State Department likely to give nod to sale of Apache helicopters to Qatar

WASHINGTON DC, USA: The United States Department of State has approved a possible $3 billion sale of Apache attack helicopters and its related equipment to Qatar, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said on Thursday.

The government of Qatar has asked to buy 24 of the AH-64E helicopters. The manufacturer Boeing Co and other major defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp, General Electric Co and Raytheon Co will take part in the project if a deal is eventually reached, DSCA said in a statement.

The proposed sale will double the number of Qatar’s previous procurement of these helicopters. The deal will also include additional parts such as engines, night vision sensors, missiles and guns apart from the training of 70 pilots and 100 ground crew members.

Apaches are used for “close air support, armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank warfare missions,” a notice posted on the Defense Security Cooperation Agency’s website explained. “The helicopters will provide a long-term defensive and offensive capability to the Qatar peninsula as well as enhance the protection of key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms.”

The sale of the helicopters has yet to will be finalised after a nod from Congress.
In March, Qatar received the first batch of helicopters from its first purchase of the AH-64E Apache attack helicopters.

The first batch of 24 helicopters for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) was handed over during a formal delivery ceremony at Boeing’s Mesa production plant in Arizona on March 14. Deliveries will be complete by the end of May 2020.

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