Just prior to the 2013 Dubai Airshow in November, Defense News reported on the upcoming competition to supply Qatar’s Air Force with up to 72 new jets, as well as the UAE’s developing fighter contest in “US Bid Delays Qatar Jet Competition“.
In reference to Qatar’s defense aviation needs, the US requested, and was granted a three month extension to submit their request for proposal, offering the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet and the F-15 Strike Eagle. Meanwhile, other competitors have already complied with Qatar’s original bid schedule. BAE Systems offered its Typhoon, while Dassault Aviation offered the Rafale. General US bureaucracy, as well as procedural issues within the US State Department, were cited as possible causes for the US’ delay. Qatar is not expected to make a final decision before the second quarter of 2014.
Theodore Karasik, Director of Research at the Institute of Gulf and Near East Military Analysis (INEGMA), commented that “The Qataris have a number of issues. One is to wait and see what decision their Gulf Cooperation Council neighbors will take, another is the level of presence of Western air forces in the region.”
Due to Qatar’s delay, the more immediate air power discussion at the show centered around the United Arab Emirates plans to purchase up to 30 F-16s from the US, in a sale that would include upgrades for the UAE’s existing F-16 fleet.
“The tide appears to have turned against Rafale and toward its European competitor the Typhoon” –Aleksandar Jovovic, AVASCENTLockheed Martin is not celebrating yet however; two years ago the the defense and aerospace market watched as Dassault intimated that the UAE would purchase 60 Rafales–but the deal never materialized. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and Oman have already purchased the Typhoon, and Bahrain is showing interest in acquiring that aircraft as well.
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