Posted on April 02, 2016
Qatar signed 10 major deals totalling QR3.54bn at the fifth Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (Dimdex) 2016 yesterday. The biggest is a QR2.6bn memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and European company MBDA for a coastal battery system.
Next is a QR365mn MoU between the Qatar Emiri Air Force and German company Reiner Stemme Utility Air-Systems for the production of drones. HE the Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah had said at the opening of Dimdex on Tuesday that the drone production project had reached an advanced stage. “You will see a Qatari drone in skies over Doha by next year,” he had announced. A QR240mn MoU was signed between the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces and MBDA for new Exocet MM40 B3 missiles, while a QR134mn deal was inked between Al Zaeem M B A A Air Academy and French company DCI for fighter and helicopter pilot training.
Qatar Emiri Naval Forces signed a MoU of QR95mn with German company MTU Friedrichshafen for maintenance and overhaul of the MTU propulsion system, followed by a QR60mn deal between the Qatar Armed Forces and French company Thales for Searchmaster radar. The Qatar Emiri Air Force signed a QR50mn, three-year contract with the US company Lockheed Martin for the maintenance of C-130 military transport aircraft, whereas the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces entered into an agreement with Qatari company Nakilat for the training of navy officers.
The partnership with Nakilat, the shipping arm of Qatar’s liquefied natural gas sector, envisages establishing and operating a national naval centre for technical simulator training apart from allowing Qatari naval officers to train onboard Nakilat Fleet. The Qatar Armed Forces signed a MoU with Polish company WKK, specialised in the manufacture of composite materials and fuselage production, for the purchase of 51% of its shares. Yet another deal inked by the Qatar Armed Forces was with the Chinese National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CASIC) for the provision of support in the fields of production and military co-operation between the drone project committee and CASIC.
Dimdex 2016 also saw the conclusion of the Middle East Naval Commanders Conference (MENC) yesterday, under the auspices of Chief of General Staff of the Qatar Armed Forces, HE Major General  Ghanem bin Shaheen al-Ghanem. Held under the theme, “The Maritime Domain – The Centre of Gravity for the Regional Security Complex of the Arabian Gulf”, MENC welcomed senior naval commanders and academics to Doha to discuss the key issues currently facing maritime security in the region.
The military and academic speakers from Canada, France, India, Italy, Pakistan, Qatar, Turkey and the US examined a diverse range of topics relating to the maritime security complex for the Arabian Gulf states, expanding beyond a narrow viewpoint of military security to include energy security, environmental security and freedom of navigation around maritime choking points. MENC is a key component of Dimdex 2016’s three-day programme and as with the exhibition, official VIP delegations and warship visits, it is both hosted and organised by the Qatar Armed Forces for the first time this year.
Brig Dr Thani A al-Kuwari, chairman of Dimdex, said the fifth edition of the MENC conference provided a high-profile industry forum for GCC and international naval commanders to share their insights on the strategic challenges facing the security of regional waters. In his opening remarks at MENC, Chief of the Qatar Emiri Naval Forces, Staff Major General  Mohamed bin Nasser al-Mohannadi, stated that the security and economies of all states along the coast of the Arabian Gulf relied on the fundamental ability to defend the territorial waters from evolving threats. 
“Regional and international co-ordination and co-operation is required to guarantee the energy security, environmental security and freedom of navigation of our waters from both the conventional and unconventional challenges we face in this geo-strategic region,” he added. Today is the last day of Dimdex 2016, with warships and the exhibition still open to visitors.
source: Gulf Times