Qatar spends billions on fleet of new fighter jets

Qatar spends billions on fleet of new fighter jets
Doha has signed a 6.7 billion euro deal with France to stock up on 24 new Rafale jets.
2 min read
29 March, 2016
This year's event is the fifth since the exhibition launched in 2008 [AFP]

Qatar has purchased 24 new Rafale jets in a deal signed between the Gulf State and France at this year's Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition [DIMDEX]

Qatar's minister of state, Khalid al-Attiyah signed the €6.7 billion agreement with his French counterpart Jean Yves Odrian following the official opening of the annual exhibition.

DIMDEX, an event funded and hosted by the Qatar Armed Forces, showcases the latest face of maritime security including the latest technology and equipment, communication systems, radars, missiles, electronic warfare and defence systems.

"DIMDEX addresses the growing need for sophisticated maritime defence technology to control and defend these waters from ever-changing threats, and provide protection to sovereign territories, maritime assets and trade routes upon which not only national economies, but the global economy relies," the official website declares.

Qatar, along with its gulf neighbours has been involved in a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen since March last year.

Earlier this month, nearly 350,000 troops from across 20 nations in the Middle East, Africa and Asia took part in what is thought to be the largest ever peacetime military exercise undertaken in the Arabian desert.

The 12-day exercise, dubbed Northern Thunder, concluded with officials from the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and Egypt attending the finale manoeuvres.

The unprecedented military training exercise, described by authorities as "the most important and largest in the region's history", suggests Saudi Arabia, along with its allies, are making a more assertive show of force against regional rival, Iran, amid escalating tensions.