Mar 27, 2014 04:43 UTC
The Persian Gulf
The Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) needs to replace most of its helicopters. Its Sikorsky S-92 VIP helicopters are predictably modern, but the operational front is less promising. The QEAF had been depending on a combination of a small handful of Lynx maritime helicopters, 12-13 old Sea King/ Westland Commando medium naval utility and patrol helicopters, 6 SA330 Puma medium utility helicopters, 6 somewhat more modern SA332F Super Pumas, and 12 old SA324G Gazelle light armed scout helicopters. Age is taking its toll.
The Emirate is a small country, but its does need some flyable helicopters, and could benefit by improving its maritime overwatch capabilities. Iran’s military, with its fleets of small boats and mines, is coupled with a second-track internal threat of subversion and terrorism. In both cases, helicopters are a military’s most valuable assets. A 2008-2011 buy of 21 AW139 light-med utility helicopters was a good first step, and in 2012, Qatar began to get equally serious about improving both its maritime surveillance capabilities, and its armed helicopter punch…
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