DOHA (AFP) – Qatar said on Sunday it signed a 240-million-euro air defence deal with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).
The contract, which will be carried out over three years, was signed by EADS and the Qatari military after being announced on Wednesday during a visit to Paris by the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.
His visit — the first by an Arab head of state since French President Nicolas Sarkozy took office on May 16 — was also marked by Qatar Airways ordering 60 Airbus 350s from the European aircraft manufacturer, an EADS subsidiary.
The 16-billion-dollar (12-billion-euro) deal was the largest contract announced to date for the plane.
Sunday’s contract was for radar-based protection and safety measures for Qatari airspace.
The deal will create a “monitoring network… through placing monitoring stations and advanced technology on the sea, land and air borders of the state of Qatar,” a statement said.
Qatar, a close ally of Washington, hosts two US military bases — As-Sayliyah, which served as the control centre during the 2003 Iraq war, and Al-Udeid airbase, which was used by the US air force during the 2001 war on Afghanistan and in the aftermath of the Iraq war.
The defence deal was signed amid tensions over neighbouring Iran’s nuclear drive, which the West fears could be used to develop atomic weapons, a charge Tehran strongly denies.