Qatar on Wednesday signed an agreement with Italy to purchase 28 NH90 helicopters through aerospace and defence group Leonardo. The two sides also signed two agreements on long-range missile carrier aircraft, and purchase of automatic aircraft simulators for training purposes.
The agreements were signed in the presence of HE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah and Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti, at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (Dimdex 2018).
Emiri Air Force helicopter wing commander Brig Mashout Faisal al-Hajri said in statements that the three agreements will contribute greatly to enhancing the capabilities and efficiency of the air force by owning the best and most modern aviation fleet in the world.
He explained that the aircraft agreement includes 16 NH90s in tactical transport (TTH) configuration and 12 NH90s in naval (NFH) configuration. “The acquisition will support the country’s plan to modernise the military helicopter fleet. As part of the plan, Qatar will receive 16 H125 light single-engine helicopters in training
He noted that Leonardo will be the main contractor for the 28 aircraft, and the delivery and provision of logistics support for a total of 12 helicopters dedicated to marine applications, adding that this European aircraft is the newest in the world, and that the receipt of new aircraft will be over the next three years. He said that the agreement includes the training of pilots, technicians and arms operators.
Brig al-Hajri said that the second agreement was signed with MBA, one of the best companies in the world to arm helicopters, pointing out that the agreement includes the arming of aircraft with long-range missiles, Apache helicopter, while the third agreement includes the purchase of two of the automatic simulators of the NH90 aircraft for training.
He stressed that the three agreements will significantly support the system of modernisation and development at the Emiri Air Force, both in arming or training and rehabilitation, in accordance with the plans and strategies for the armed forces.
For his part, Leonardo chief executive officer Alessandro Profumo said that the NH90 helicopter is the most versatile in its class. “The aircraft for Qatar will be equipped with a range of integrated systems developed and provided by Leonardo to meet the most challenging requirements.”
He expressed pleasure for signing the contract which extends and continues Leonardo’s long and strong partnership with Qatar, through a wide range of advanced technology, customised solutions in the military and security fields.
The medium-sized, twin-engine NH90 helicopters have the ability to carry out various tasks in difficult conditions and have proven effective and efficient in many tasks and operations around the world. (QNA)