US approves sale of anti-drone systems to Qatar in $1 bln deal


WASHINGTON – The State Department approved Tuesday the sale of sophisticated anti-drone systems to Qatar in a deal worth $1 billion.

Qatar requested to buy 10 Fixed Site-Low, Slow, Small Unmanned Aircraft System Integrated Defeat System (FS-LIDS), according to a statement from the Pentagon.

The State Department said the sale would support the foreign policy and national security objectives of the US “by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.”

The proposed sale will not alter the basic military balance in the region, according to the State Department.

The deal is also expected to include 200 Coyote Block 2 interceptors, Counter Unmanned Electronic Warfare System (CUAEWS); Coyote launchers and equipment.

The principal contractors will be Raytheon Technologies, SRC and Northrop Grumman, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Five additional US government and 15 US contractor representatives will be sent to Qatar for five years to support fielding, training, and sustainment activities.

Under the Trump administration, the US approved a $21 billion arms deal for US weapons, including 36 F-15QA fighter jets.

Qatar requested to buy US-made MQ-9 Reaper drones in the aftermath of a US-UAE deal that saw Washington approve the sale of F-35 fighter jets to the United Arab Emirates.

President Joe Biden then designated Qatar as a major non-NATO ally in March, which allows Doha to be in a group of countries that are provided with certain defense, trade and security benefits with the US.

Al Udeid in Qatar is also home to the largest US military base in the Middle East and the country played a key role in helping the United States evacuate citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other Afghans following the chaotic withdrawal ordered by Biden in 2021.

Source: Al Arabiya English


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