In 2008, Qatar’s military air transport assets would have involved pressing the Qatar Emiri VIP Flight at Doha into service, with its mix of Boeing aircraft (707, 727, 747), small Airbus models (320 family), and a Falcon 900 business jet. As the Gulf Cooperation Council begins to work together more closely, however, and members like the UAE begin to adopt specialty roles, improved air transport capabilities are a natural outgrowth.
Tactical airlifters like the C-130 Hercules serve in other GCC countries, and Qatar ordered 4 new C-130J-30s in October 2008, but they’re also reaching higher. In 2008, they ordered 2 C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft for the Qatar Emiri Air Force, via direct commercial sale, with a future option for another 2.
The C-17 aircraft and engines were sold via direct commercial sale, rather than a Foreign Military Sale that must be announced by the DSCA. As a direct commercial sale, the Pentagon does not announce Boeing’s C-17 sales, and there is no obligation for Boeing to do so. Based on past C-17 purchases, the 4 planes and initial fielding provisions are likely to cost about $900 million, plus support costs.
A sale of this nature goes beyond just the aircraft, of course. The DCS sale of 4 planes has been accompanied by official requests for associated equipment and services from Boeing, as well as work under the C-17’s Globemaster Sustainment Partnership. Services will include operational maintenance, logistics support and training, spare and repair parts, support equipment, flight engineer training, communications equipment, maintenance, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and logistics support services, preparation of aircraft for shipment, etc.
The QEAF’s order has since been surpassed by purchases in the UAE (6) and India (10), but it was significant to Boeing in 2008. For one thing, it demonstrated the growing internationalization of the C-17’s customer base. By itself, the Qatari order was too small to affect the looming closure of the C-17 production line, but the vote of confidence helped lengthen it, especially as Qatar began using the aircraft as a visible way of exerting international “soft power” influence. Painting their 1st C-17 in Qatar Airways colors was meant as an explicit statement of that intent, and as a way of raising their plane’s profile when it did venture out on missions.
Announced Contracts and Key Events
2011 – 2013
Deliveries done; Spare engine request.
June 17/15: Qatar has signed a contract with Boeing for an additional four C-17 airlifters, to complement the four already in service with the Gulf state. Other C-17 customers within the GCC include Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.
June 27/13: Engines. The US DSCA announces [PDF] Qatar’s formal export request for 2 F117-PW-100 spare engines to power its C-17s, plus associated support equipment, training, and other US government and contractor support. Unlike the C-17s and their original engines, this is being handled as a Foreign Military Sale.
The estimated cost is $35 million, and Pratt and Whitney of East Hartford, CT will be the prime contractor. Final prices are subject to contract negotiations, but this is a well-understood off-the-shelf item. The amount should be very close.
Dec 10/12: #3 & 4. Boeing delivers the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s 4th C-17 Globemaster III at a ceremony in Long Beach, CA. Because the contract is a Direct Commercial Sale, the firm didn’t have to announce the contract when Qatar picked up its 2 additional options. Qatar received its 3rd airlifter “earlier this year,” and this delivery makes number 249 for Boeing.
Earlier in 2012, Qatar’s C-17s supported the NATO-led operation in Libya, and provided relief for drought victims in Kenya. In early 2010, QEAF C-17s delivered humanitarian aid to Haiti and Chile following devastating earthquakes. Boeing.
Purchases & deliveries complete
June 15/11: Flight International reports that:
“Unrest in the Middle East has shifted priorities in some key countries. This has prolonged discussions on potential deals with Qatar to purchase two more C-17s and with Kuwait to buy its first C-17, said Bob Ciesla, Boeing’s C-17 programme manager.”
2008 – 2010
From request, to deliveries and missions.
click for video
Oct 22/10: GSP. Boeing receives a $64.6 million contract modification, covering for the continued performance of the C-17 Globemaster III sustainment partnership for NAMA (NATO) and Qatar. At this time, $32.5 million has been obligated (FA8614-04-C-2004).
March 10/10: It’s good to have happy customers. At Quatar’s Air Force Day, Boeing and the QAF tout the new airlifter’s achievements. Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Malki, head of head of Qatar’s airlift selection committee, says that international humanitarian missions were part of the rationale behind the purchase of these strategic airlifters.
A QEAF C-17 touched down in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, just days after the Jan 12/10 earthquake, while another mission flew to Chile on March 4/10 in response to that country’s Feb 27/10 earthquake. Boeing release.
Oct 6/09: GSP. An $11.5 million contract to exercise the FY 2010 option for the continued performance of the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership for Qatar Emiri Air Force aircraft. At this time, the entire amount has been obligated (FA8614-04-C-2004).
Boeing provides Qatar’s C-17s with operational support, including material management and depot maintenance support, under the C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership at Al Udeid Air Base, where the QEAF’s C-17s are based.
Sept 10/09: #2. Boeing delivers the QEAF’s 2nd C-17 Globemaster III during a ceremony at the company’s C-17 final assembly facility in Long Beach, completing Qatar’s initial order.
Qatar 02 will make a brief stop at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., before heading to its new home at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. It is registered as a military aircraft yet bears the same gray, maroon and white livery seen on government-owned Qatar Airways commercial jetliners. Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Malki, head of Qatar’s airlift selection committee, says that this unique C-17 paint scheme is intended to build awareness of Qatar’s participation when it is used during multinational operations around the world. Boeing release.
Aug 11/09: #1. Boeing formally delivers delivered Qatar’s 1st C-17 Globemaster III airlifter during a ceremony at the company’s facility in Long Beach, CA. Actual use in Qatar is dependent on the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s plans and requirements regarding testing and training. Boeing will formally deliver Qatar’s 2nd C-17 later in 2009. Boeing release.
July 31/09: GSP. A $64.4 million modification to the international C-17 Globemaster III Sustainment Partnership contract, which will add sustainment support the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s C-17 aircraft during FY 2009-2011. At this time, $6.7 million has been committed by the MSWE/516 AESG/PK at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH (FA8614-04-V-2004).
July 21/08: Qatar signs an agreement with Boeing to buy 2 C-17 airlifters and associated equipment and services, with an option for 2 more. Because it’s a Direct Commercial Sale, Boeing isn’t required to divulge the terms. Boeing release.
July 11/08: The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency announces [PDF format] Qatar’s official request for logistics support, training, and associated equipment and services, to accompany the 2 C-17s it’s buying via direct commercial sale.
The proposed services will require 10 U.S. Government and contractor representatives to participate in training, and be present for technical reviews twice per year. The total value of the support arrangements could be as high as $400 million.
Qatar buys 2