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Qatar to buy Patriot missiles in $13b arms deal: US

Published on Jul 15, 2014 11:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Qatar will buy US Patriot missiles for the first time in a major arms deal worth US$11 billion (S$13.6 billion), officials said on Monday, as Washington awaits a decision by the Gulf state on a lucrative fighter jet contract.

The sale will provide Qatar with roughly 10 batteries for Patriot systems designed to knock out incoming missiles, as well as 24 Apache helicopters and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.

Qatar was investing in missile defence systems to counter what it sees as the threat from Iran across the Gulf, as Tehran has built up its missile arsenal, officials said. The weapons deal was the biggest for the United States in 2014 and came as Qatar weighs proposals in a fighter jet competition, with US aerospace firm Boeing vying against British BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation of France.

"It's a good sign," said a senior defence official, referring to the arms sale and the prospects for the fighter jet bidding. "It's a pretty significant step."

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