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UK defence chief says Qatar warplane deal 'on the table'
by Staff Writers
Doha (AFP) March 29, 2016

Britain's defence minister said on Tuesday that a deal to sell Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes to Qatar was "definitely still on the table".

Michael Fallon, speaking on board a British destroyer anchored in Doha port, said he had held discussions on a possible sale with Qatari officials within the past week.

He added that the deal had not been killed off by a Qatari decision to buy 24 Rafale jets from France.

"It's definitely still on the table," said Fallon, who is in Qatar to attend the three-day Dimdex defence and security fair.

"It's something I have discussed with the new Qatari defence minister, (Khalid bin Mohammad) Al-Attiyah.

"Typhoon is proving itself a very capable aircraft in the skies above Syria and Iraq."

Asked if the French deal could scupper the prospective British sale, Fallon responded: "No".

"Qatar is one of our most important regional partners," added Fallon.

Britain's BAE Systems builds the Typhoon in cooperation with European aircraft maker Airbus and Italian defence firm Finmeccanica.

Britain has long sought to sell Typhoons to Qatar and is in the closing stages of wrapping up a deal to sell the jets to Kuwait.

Two other countries in the Gulf -- Saudi Arabia and Oman -- have also purchased Typhoon jets.

Energy-rich Qatar's spending is being squeezed by falling gas and oil prices but it appears committed to maintaining its defence budget and has previously pledged to increase the size of its air force.

Around 10 of its planes have been used in the ongoing Saudi-led military operations in Yemen.

Britain contracts for Hawk trainer aircraft support
London (UPI) Mar 29, 2016 - Britain's Ministry of Defense has committed more than $527 million for four contracts for continued in-service support of Hawk training aircraft.

The fleet of Hawk TMk1 and TMk2 aircraft made by BAE Systems are used by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy for military flying training prior to conversion onto frontline fast jet aircraft, such as the Typhoon.

"The Hawk is a world-class training aircraft for our future fast jet aircrew," said Minister for Defense Procurement Philip Dunne. "It will ... be used to train the pilots that will fly our new F-35s, some of the most advanced aircraft in the world.

"The contracts to support these vital training aircraft are a boost to British industry, sustaining hundreds of jobs across the UK -- all made possible by our growing Defense budget and our ĀPounds 178 billion ($252.3 billion) investment in buying and maintaining the best possible kit for our Armed Forces."

Contracts worth almost $425.3 million have been awarded to BAE Systems to provide in-service support and post-design services for the Hawk TMk1 and TMk2, the MOD said. Included are provisions for design advice and modification and obsolescence management.

Also among the contracts is a $112 million award to Rolls-Royce to provide support for its Adour engines, which power the Hawk aircraft, with testing, repairs and overhaul services.

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