U.S. Approves Support for Qatari AOC

The U.S. has approved a potential support package for Qatar’s Air Operation Center.

Qatar’s government requested the purchase of “one (1) Multifunctional Information Distribution System (MIDS) Low Volume Terminal (LVT), Global Positioning System (GPS) Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM) chips, Simple Key Loaders (SKL), High Assurance Internet Protocol Encryptors (HAIPE), Ground Support System (GSS) components for Link-16,” and associated equipment and services, which will support the Air Force’s Air Operation Center (AOC).

The total value of the sale, if completed, is $197 million.

In a press release, the U.S. State Department noted, “The upgrade of the AOC will support the defensive capability of Qatar.  The proposed sale will help strengthen Qatar’s capability to counter current and future threats in the region and reduce dependence on U.S. forces.

“Qatar will have no difficulty absorbing the required equipment and capability into its armed forces,” the statement said.

Congress was notified of the potential sale on March 7, 2018 and will now have an opportunity to review the proposed sale.

Last month, Senator Robert Corker (R-TN), who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced that he was lifting his hold on the sale of weapons to Gulf states, which he had enacted in 2017 after a dispute between Qatar and several of its neighbors.

In a statement, he said,

Given that weapons sales are part of our security cooperation with these states, I am lifting my blanket hold on sales of lethal military equipment to the GCC and will resume informally clearing those sales if the administration can make the case that…the purchasing state is taking effective steps to combat support for terrorism.

It is not known whether Senator Corker’s hold impacted any potential sales during the period it was active.

About Derek Bisaccio

Military markets analyst, covering Eurasia, Middle East, and Africa.

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