Qatar announced contracts worth $23 billion on Thursday to buy attack helicopters, advanced anti-missile interception systems and other military equipment, as the country accelerates a military build-up.
The world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter announced deals with 20 companies, including firms from the United States which were awarded deals worth 27,5 billion Qatar riyal ($7,55 billion), said a spokeswoman for the Doha International Maritime Defense Exhibition (DIMDEX) where the announcements were made.
The announcements included a contract with Boeing to buy 24 Apache helicopters (photo) for 8.9 billion riyals.
The French Defense Ministry said Thursday that Qatar will buy 22 NH90 military helicopters from NHIndustries, a unit of European aerospace group Airbus worth nearly two billion Euros ($2.8 billion).
France's Defense Ministry who visited DIMDEX last week said Qatar had agreed to buy 22 NH90 military helicopters from a unit of European aerospace group Airbus worth 2 billion Euros ($2.76 billion) and two Airbus-made refueling tankers.
It said 12 of these would be transport helicopters and the other 10 would be the frigate version. Qatar will also acquire two Airbus-made refueling tankers.
The decision was conveyed to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian by Qatari officials.
Le Drian had taken his Qatari counterpart General Khaled Al Attiyah to Brest in northwestern France to show him the NH90 chopper earlier this month.
NHIndustries is a French SAS company, based in Aix-en-Provence. It is wholly owned by Airbus Helicopters (62.5%), AgustaWestland (32%) and Fokker Aerostructures (5.5%) and provides the focal point for these companies for the NH90 program. (Agencies)