US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) and Qatar's Minister of State for Defense Affairs Hamad bin Ali al-Atiyah sign a weapons agreement at the Pentagon on July 14, 2014 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN
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Qatar will buy US Patriot missiles for the first time in a major arms deal worth $11 billion, officials said Monday, as Washington awaits a decision by the Gulf state on a lucrative fighter jet contract.The sale will provide Qatar with roughly 10 batteries for Patriot systems designed to knock out incoming missiles, as well as 24 Apache helicopters and 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles, the US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP.The weapons deal was the biggest for the United States in 2014 and came as Qatar weighs proposals in a fighter jet competition, with US aerospace firm Boeing vying against British BAE Systems and Dassault Aviation of France.Officials said the arms sale offered a way of forging closer ties to Qatar and to cultivate relationships with the country's military through training on US-made aircraft and weapons.The Patriot missile sale, involving 247 PAC-3 and 117 GEM-T missiles, was worth more than $7 billion.
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