Despite a spat with its Arab neighbors amid claims they were funding terrorism, Qatar has completed negotiations with Boeing
to move ahead with a purchase of 36 F-15QA
fighter aircraft. Qatari Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah was in Washington to sign the $12 billion Foreign Military Sale agreement with his counterpart Jim Mattis, and could be extended to cover a total of 72 planes at a cost of approximately $21 billion. The move may confuse Washington's allies in the region, after President Trump has initially sent a series of tweets that appeared to take credit for and praise the decision when Saudi Arabia and several Arab countries cut off ties with Qatar. “The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level,” Trump said in a speech at the White House last week. “We ask Qatar, and other nations in the region to do more and do it faster.
It can also affect the fighter fleet more directly.
Following the crash of a Missouri Air National Guard F-15C aircraft Nov 2/07 (see crash simulation), the US Air Force suspended non-mission critical F-15 flight operations on Nov 3/07. While the cause of that accident is still under investigation, preliminary findings indicate that a structural failure during flight may have been responsible. In response, Japan suspended its own F-15 flights, which left them in a bit of a bind – even as Israel’s F-15s joined them on the tarmac. As the effects continue to spread and the USAF and others continue to comment on this situation, DID continues to expand its coverage of this bellwether event. A conditional restoration of the American F-15A-D fleet to flight status was soon overturned by the re-grounding of that fleet as a result of the report’s conclusions – a status that remains only been partially lifted. Meanwhile, the accident report has been released (compete with video dramatization) and the status of the remaining aircraft will have significant implications for the USAF’s future F-15 fleet size. Not to mention its other procurement programs.
Then, too, this is America. Now there’s a lawsuit.