The US State Department has approved a potential $3bn sale of 24 Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and associated equipment to the Government of Qatar to help improve security in the region.

The possible foreign military sale is subject to review by Congress before being finalised.

Qatar previously reached a deal to procure 24 of these helicopters for use by the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). The first of the initial batch of 24 helicopters was delivered in March.

The new deal also includes 52 T700-GE-701D engines, 26 AN/ASQ-170 modernised target acquisition and designation sight (MTADS), 26 AN/AAQ-11 modernised pilot night vision sensors, and eight AN/APG-78 fire control radars (FCR) with radar electronics unit (LONGBOW component).

In addition, Qatar will procure 2,500 AGM-114R Hellfire missiles and 25 Hellfire Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM).

The AH-64E helicopters will enable the country to meet its requirements for close air support, armed reconnaissance, and anti-tank warfare missions.

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“With the procurement of the AH-64Es, Qatar will boost its defensive and offensive capability.”

In a statement, DSCA said: “This proposed sale will support the foreign policy and national security of the US by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East.

“Qatar is host to the US Central Command forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region. The acquisition of these helicopters will allow for integration with US forces for training exercises, which contributes to regional security and interoperability.”

With the procurement of the AH-64Es, Qatar will boost its defensive and offensive capability. Assets will also be used to protect key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms in the country.

The project will include Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Longbow, Thales and Raytheon as the prime contractors.

In addition to the US, the AH-64E helicopter is used by Japan, Israel, the Netherlands and the UAE.