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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Qatar Hosts DIMDEX 2018 Military Exhibition

Qatar is hosting the DIMDEX 2018 military exhibition this week.

At DIMDEX 2018, Qatar has inked several contracts with foreign firms to bolster its Armed Forces. Turkish firms, in particular, have landed a number of deals so far.

Qatar will procure six Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles from Turkey, which will come with three ground control stations and a training simulator.

BMC, a Turkish firm, confirmed that the company will provide 50 Kirpi and 35 Amazon 4x4 armored vehicles. The first of these were seen in a Qatari parade at the end of last year. Qatar is believed to have purchased or been interested in several hundred Turkish armored vehicles.

BMC head Ethem Sancak stated, "Exports [are] important for Turkey. Previously we sold our vehicles to the Turkmenistan and Tunisian armies."

In a likely related contract, Qatar's newly-established Barzan Holdings inked a partnership with Aselsan for the production of the latter's SARP remote combat weapons station, as well as reconnaissance and surveillance systems.

Qatar's Coast Guard furthermore purchased nine vessels from Turkey's Ares Shipyard, while the Navy signed a contract for two training vessels from Anadolu Shipyard.

Beyond Turkish firms, Barzan Holdings and France's Nexter Group announced two memorandum of understandings on Qatar's procurement of several hundred VBCI infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), building off of a letter of intent signed at the end of last year. The VBCI won a Qatari tender for IFVs.

According to Nexter Group, the first MoU "will allow cooperation between Nexter, the French leader in land defense, and Barzan, a Qatari strategic industrial player." The second "formalizes the industrial cooperation and the launches the contractual process." Nexter confirmed that "a Joint Venture has been established in Qatar and will be the local industrial base to deliver and maintain complete vehicles."

The Qatari VBCIs are to feature components produced by Kongsberg, under a cooperation agreement announced at DIMDEX. At the exhibition, two versions of the VBCI were on display, one called 'Al Zubarah' and utilizing the Nexter T40 turret and another called 'Al Wajbah' that utilizes a 30mm turret produced by Kongsberg.

Qatar also finalized an agreement for NH90 helicopters, announced several years ago. The country will ultimately procure 28 NH90s, 16 of which will be in tactical transport configuration and 12 of which will be in a naval configuration.

Air Recognition reported, "As part of the plan, Qatar will receive 16 H125 light single-engine helicopters in training configuration for operation by the Qatar Armed Forces Air Academy."

Barzan Holdings is also considering further cooperation with Italy's Fincantieri. The two signed a letter of intent to focus on coastal surveillance systems. At DIMDEX, Fincantieri also revealed the design of the warships that Qatar ordered last year for its Navy.

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