Qatar is close to completing a deal for French fighter jets and armored vehicles.
A French presidential source told Reuters this week that a France is “close to finalizing” a sale of Dassault Rafale fighter jets and VBCI armored vehicles, as well as a civilian contract to manage the Doha metro.
The source said, “Discussions are ongoing. You spoke about several dossiers for which the point of maturity is close, but I prefer to remain a little bit prudent and wait until Thursday,” in reference to this coming Thursday, December 7, when French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Qatar.
In recent weeks a number of news reports have revealed that Qatar is in negotiations for a follow-on purchase of Rafale jets. The country purchased 24, with an option for 12 more, in 2015 for over $7 billion. Doha is now considering exercising that option, though it is unclear how much the contract could be worth if completed.
Qatar is also looking to finalize an armored vehicle purchase of several hundred units. Doha has been known to be interested in France’s VBCI, as well as Patria’s AMV. A Qatari delegation was seen in photos at a Nexter showroom last month, negotiating over the potential purchase of the firm’s VBCI.
Qatar is interested in acquiring up to 300 VBCIs.
Especially in light of its ongoing dispute with its Gulf neighbors, Qatar has sought to move forward with a number of military contracts, particularly for fighter jets. The country signed a deal for 36 F-15s from the U.S. in June and has inked a memorandum of understanding for two dozen Eurofighter Typhoons.