08:18 GMT +307 December 2019
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    DoD: State Dept Approves Possible $3 Billion Sale of Apache Helicopters to Qatar

    © AFP 2019 / Mandy CHENG
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    The US State Department has approved a possible $3 billion sale of Apache attack helicopters to Qatar, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement Thursday.

    "The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Qatar of twenty-four (24) AH-64E Apache Attack helicopters and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.0 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today", the release said.

    The authorities of Qatar asked earlier to purchase 24 of the AH-64E helicopters.

    In 2016, the Boeing Company has won a two-thirds-of-a-billion dollar US Army foreign military sales contract to supply the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar with 24 Apache ground-support helicopters. According to the US Department of Defence, work on the contract is being implemented in Mesa, Arizona, with an estimated completion date of 31 May 2020.

    READ MORE: Qatar Boosts Investment in Luxury New York Real Estate in $5.6 Bln Deal

    The Apache AH-64 helicopter is described as a flying tank. It is a helicopter designed to survive heavy attack and is armed to inflict massive damage on ground forces. The AH-64 is also designed to operate day or night, including in unfavorable weather and poor visibility.

    According to the DSCA, other major US defence contractors, including Lockheed Martin Corp, General Electric Co and Raytheon Co would participate in the project if a deal is eventually reached.

    In March, Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan met with Qatar Defense Minister Khalid Al Attiyah to reaffirm an alliance with the Persian Gulf nation that hosts the Al Udeid Air Base. The base is considered crucial for US anti-terror campaigns in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    A coalition of a dozen Muslim nations led by Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in June 2017 and imposed a de facto commercial blockade over charges that Qatar supports terrorist groups.

    READ MORE: US Army Orders Emergency Fix on Apache Chopper's Rotor Blades

    The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, the Maldives, Mauritania, Senegal, Djibouti, the Comoros, Jordan, as well as internationally recognized governments in Libya and Yemen have joined the Saudi-led boycott.


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