US weapons maker Raytheon Corp. will install 10 Patriot missile defense systems in Qatar under a $2.4 billion contract that it has been negotiating for several months.
According to the US Department of Defense, which announced the deal last night, work will be completed by April 30, 2019.
Once finished, Qatar will become the fourth Gulf country to have the missile defense system, which Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait already own.
The agreement with Raytheon is part of a larger $24 billion artillery purchase that the Gulf state committed to earlier this year as it works to build up its defenses.
They include contracts with more than 20 defense firms to purchase new tanks, helicopters, warships, missiles and artillery.
The Patriot systems, which sink incoming missiles, are also part of an $11 billion defense weapon deal made with the US in May that includes the purchase of 24 Apache helicopters and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles.
For years, there has been speculation that Qatar is spending so heavily on defense to arm itself against Iran. But the nation’s ambassador to the US, Mohammed Jaham Al-Kuwari, said earlier this year that the purchases were not because of a specific country:
“As you know our region is going through a lot of instability. What we bought are weapons to defend Qatar,” he said.