Qatar has signed a contract, valued at more than €3bn, with the NHIndustries consortium for the acquisition of 28 units of the NH90 multi-role aircraft as part of the country’s modernisation plan to upgrade its military helicopter fleet.

NHIndustries is a company jointly owned by Airbus Helicopters with a 62.5% stake, Leonardo with 32%, and Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker with a 5.5% stake in the consortium.

Of the total 28 NH90 units, Qatar will purchase 16 helicopters in tactical transport (TTH) configuration and the remaining 12 aircraft in naval (NFH) configuration.

The agreement will also include provisions for the delivery of a comprehensive support, maintenance training services package and related infrastructure.

As part of the aircraft fleet modernisation plan, the country will also receive 16 units of the H125 light single-engine helicopters in training configuration to be used for operation by the Qatar Armed Forces Air Academy.

Airbus Helicopters Global Business executive vice-president Ben Bridge said: “We are honoured to support the Qatar Armed Forces through this strategic partnership.

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“Our partnership on the new training academy will also strengthen the relationship between our countries.”

“The NH90 is a modern and combat-proven asset that will meet Qatar’s demanding operational requirements for decades to come, both in troop transport and naval missions.

“Our partnership on the new training academy will also strengthen the relationship between our countries by enabling the exchange of expertise and know-how in helicopter operations.”

Under the terms of the deal, Airbus will carry out the final assembly and supply of 16 NH90 TTH helicopters from its Marignane facility in France, and Leonardo will be responsible for the final assembly and supply delivery of the remaining 12 NH90 NFH aircraft from its Venice – Tessera facility in Northern Italy.

Leonardo will also serve as the prime contractor for the NH90 helicopter programme management with the end customer.

Capable of operating in challenging conditions, the twin-engine, medium-size NH90 aircraft has been combat-proven in many theatres of operation across the world.

To date, 350 NH90 helicopters have been delivered to 20 customers across 13 countries and have accumulated approximately 170,000 flight hours.