Raytheon Company has received a $2.4 billion Foreign Military Sales contract for fire units of the Patriot Air & Missile Defense System for the State of Qatar. This deal follows the arms transfer request announced by the U.S. in 2012, which included the sale of 11 GEM-T/PAC-3 fire units comprising 44 launchers, radars, command, control and communications modules. The GEM-T missiles are proceeded by Raytheon, while PAC-3 are made by Lockheed Martin.
The package also included the delivery of more than a thousand missiles of both models. The total cost of the requested Qatari arms package was almost ten billion dollars back in 2012. According to Raytheon, the contract includes the latest Patriot fire units featuring increased computing power and radar processing efficiency, improved man-machine interface and reduced life-cycle costs.
The acquisition is part of an Armed Services modernization and recapitalization effort announced by Qatar in March of this year. The US part – including the Boeing Apache helicopters, Patriot and Raytheon/Lockheed Martin Javelin missile were valued at $11 billion dollars.
Other items included the Qatari shopping spree in 2014 included German Leopard 2A7 tanks and PzH2000 self propelled guns to be supplied by KMW, 17 patrol boats bought from ARES, Turkey, along with six locally built FBPs designed by Dutch ship designer Damen; the Local shipyards will also manufacture six Sigma corvettes also designed by Damen, which will be fielded with 22 NH-90 helicopters from NH Industries, (these are acquired in addition to 18 AgustaWestland AW-138 helicopters ordered from Italy in 2011); two Airbus A330 Multi-role tanker transport aircraft and 24 Swiss Platus PC-21 military trainers are also included. The replacement of Qatar’s fleet of Mirage 2000 jet fighters is still in the making, with the French Dassault Rafale being one of the likely choices.
The new Patriot will become the cornerstone of Qatar’s advanced Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD) capability. Qatar, will become the 13th global Patriot customer and fifth in the Gulf, following Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE. Bahrain is also planning to modernize its air defense force, replacing the old MIM-23 Hawk with the Patriot. Other air and missile defense assets to be fielded in the gulf include the THAAD United Arab Emirates, (U.A.E.) that has contracted to buy two THAAD batteries. The U.A.E. also has taken delivery of its Patriot PAC-3 batteries, which provide a lower-tier, point defense of critical national assets. Saudi Arabia is in the process of upgrading its existing Patriot PAC-2 batteries to the PAC-3 configuration. Kuwait is upgrading its existing batteries to PAC-3, and in December 2013 signed an offer for two additional PAC-3 batteries.
The radar networks and early warning systems of the GCC members are connected through the ‘Cooperation Belt Project’ whose first phase is operational since 2002. However, under the current deployment the Patriot air defense systems are protecting each country individually; the US is encouraging the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to integrate those assets into a regional defense system, defending the entire region against a possible Iranian air and missile missiles attacks.
Earlier this month, Raytheon announced a U.S. Air Force contract to provide the state of Qatar with an Air and Missile Defense Operations Center (ADOC) which will integrate U.S. air defense systems including Patriot, the Early Warning Radar, and THAAD; with European air defense systems and radars and Qatar’s Air Operation Centre.