Rome - On the last day of the naval show DIMDEX 2014 - held in Doha, capital of Qatar - the Qatari Ministry of Defence announced contracts and initial agreements regarding important commissions, totalling 23.9 billion dollars, or 87 billion Qatar riyals, for the entire defence sector, and a small portion of this was destined for the naval industry. The American defence industry took the lion’s share and won orders for 11.2 billion dollars, as per the statement published by the American Embassy in Qatar. The most significant one is the order for the Patriot PAC-3 air-defence and anti-ballistic missiles systems for 27.5 billion riyals (5.5 billion euros) followed by an order to Boeing for 24 combat AH-64 Apache helicopters for 8.9 billion riyals and three air surveillance AWACS aircraft for 3 billion riyals. But the European defence industry also brought home contracts or option agreements on important orders. The Airbus group has been selected to supply two A330 aircrafts for aerial refuelling for 2.5 billion riyals (around 500 million euros), a little less than the 2.76 billion riyals contract for a future order of 22 units; 12 tactical transport and 10 antisubmarine warfare and surface helicopters of the NH90 helicopter type supplied by the European helicopter consortium NH Industries, which includes Airbus, Agusta Westland and Fokker. The details of the agreement were not disclosed, but Agusta Westland should be responsible for the integration of mission systems and sensors on the 10 naval helicopters, and eventually the production of the aircraft in their own factories. Agusta Westland offered to include anti-ship missiles of the Mars family produced by MBDA, and there are other opportunities for the Italian industry to supply sensors and torpedoes.
Selex ES, Finmeccanica’s company specialized in defence electronics, has signed an important agreement to provide state of the art air surveillance radars of the Kronos family for a value of 1.7 billion riyals, or 340 million euros. This contract is very important for the positioning of the company in the Middle Eastern markets, where the most important countries are looking for defence systems against potential terrorist threats, aerial and missile attacks. In addition, the company got a contract to supply single surveillance radar for the Seaspray aerial platform, the latest trend in airplane radar technology. The country also needs additional last generation air defence missile systems, and is looking at the MBDA with SAMP/T equipped with Aster 30 missiles. In the naval sector, the local shipyard Nakilat-Damen, a joint venture with the Danish shipyard Damen, have brought home a contract for 3 billion riyals (600 million euros) for six 50-meter patrol boats and one 52-meter support craft for underwater operations. In addition, the Turkish shipyard Ares received an order for small high speed units. With regard to land units, the colossal German KMW got an order for almost a billion riyals for tanks and artillery.