Fresh off a deal to buy seven navy vessels from an Italian firm, Qatar has contracted the Italian branch of an international defense company to outfit those ships with missiles.
In a statement this week, MBDA Italy announced it has signed a contract worth more than $1.1 billion with Qatar’s Emiri Naval Force.
As part of the deal, it will outfit vessels with Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles, as well as Aster 30 Block 1 and VL MICA air defense missiles.
MBDA said the contract was finalized after an agreement was signed by Italy and Qatar’s defense ministries in Rome two weeks ago.
The missiles will be fitted onto ships that Qatar agreed to buy late last month from Fincantieri.
The seven new ships are worth $4.4 billion and include four corvettes – each measuring more than 100m in length – one amphibious vessel and a pair of patrol vessels.
Work on those ships will begin in Italy within two years, Fincantieri previously said.
The agreement with the state-backed shipbuilder was one of the largest Qatar has made regarding its maritime forces in recent years.
The country has been focusing on improving its sea defense capabilities to protect its large coastline and massive offshore gas resources.