Qatar may become the first Arab Gulf state to operate submarines. A new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Italian defense giant Fincantieri covers the “supply of cutting-edge naval vessels and submarines”.
Italy is known to be supplying warships to the Emiri Navy but the inclusion of subs is fresh information. It is significant because it could change the naval balance in the region.
The Qatari submarines may be part of a much larger 5 billion euro deal with Italy which was agreed in 2017. That deal included a large helicopter carrier, called a Landing Platform Dock (LPD), four warships and two patrol boats. It also involves shore support and help with a new offshore naval base.
Submarines are expensive, but the oil rich country can afford to invest in growing its navy. It is sitting on the world’s third-largest natural gas and oil reserves and has the highest per-capita income in the world. (end of excerpt)
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