Qatar Armed Forces

Qatar Armed Forces

Emblem of Qatar
Founded 1971
Service branches
Headquarters Doha
Commander-in-Chief Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani
Minister of Defence Major General Hamad bin Ali Al Attiyah
Chief of General Staff Major General Ghanem bin Shaheen Al-Ghanem
Military age 18 years of age
Available for
military service
389,487 males, age 15–49 (2010 est.),
165,572 females, age 15–49 (2010 est.)
Fit for
military service
321,974 males, age 15–49 (2010 est.),
140,176 females, age 15–49 (2010 est.)
Reaching military
age annually
6,429 males (2010 est.),
5,162 females (2010 est.)
Active personnel

11,800 total personnel

  • Army 8,500
  • Navy 1,800
  • Air Force 1,500
Budget US$1.913 billion (2010)[1]
Percent of GDP 1.5% (2010)
Related articles
History Gulf War
Libyan Civil War

The Qatar Armed Forces are the military forces of Qatar. The country maintains a modest military force of approximately 11,800 men, including an army (8,500), navy (1,800) and air force (1,500). Qatar's defence expenditures were a total of $1.913 billion, about 1.5% of the national GDP, as of 2010 according to the SIPRI.[1] Qatar has recently signed defence pacts with the United States in 2002[2] and 2013[3] and with the United Kingdom, as well as with France earlier, in 1994. Qatar plays an active role in the collective defence efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council; the other five members are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, and Oman. The presence of a large American military base in the country provides the country with a guaranteed source of defence and national security. SIPRI states that Qatar's plans to transform and significantly enlarge its armed forces have accelerated in 2014, and in 2010-14 Qatar was the 46th largest arms importer in the world. Orders in 2013 for 62 tanks and 24 self-propelled guns from Germany were followed in 2014 by a number of other contracts, including 24 combat helicopters and 3 AEW aircraft from the USA, and 2 tanker aircraft from Spain.[4]


The armed forces was founded in 1971 after the country gained independence from the United Kingdom.

Qatar took part in the Gulf War of 1991, with a battalion at the Battle of Khafji. It also hosted the 614th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Doha.[5]

In July 2008, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency announced Qatar’s official request for logistics support, training, and associated equipment and services. The total value of the support arrangements could be as high as $400 million.

In March 2011, Qatar announced the participation of its Air Force in the enforcement of the Libyan no-fly zone.[6]


Qatar Armed Forces in training.

The Qatar Emiri Land Force is the largest branch of the Qatar Armed Forces. Qatar maintains a modest military force of approximately 11,800 men; the army is made of 8,500 men. The lack of sufficient indigenous manpower to staff the army is a continuing problem, Qatari citizens constitute only 30 percent of the army, in which more than twenty nationalities are represented.

Initially outfitted with British weaponry, Qatar shifted much of its procurement to France during the 1980s in response to French efforts to develop closer relations. The tank battalion is equipped with French-built AMX-30 main battle tanks. Other armored vehicles include French AMX-10P APCs and the French VAB, adopted as the standard wheeled combat vehicle. The artillery unit has a few French 155mm self-propelled howitzers. The principal antitank weapons are French Milan and HOT wire-guided missiles.

Qatar had also illicitly acquired a few Stinger shoulder-fired SAMs, possibly from Afghan rebel groups, at a time when the United States was trying to maintain tight controls on Stingers in the Middle East. When Qatar refused to turn over the missiles, the United States Senate in 1988 imposed a ban on the sale of all weapons to Qatar. The ban was repealed in late 1990 when Qatar satisfactorily accounted for its disposition of the Stingers.

Qatari tank battalion fought in the Gulf war in 1991, their AMX-30's took part in the battle of Khafji. Qatari contingent, composed mostly of Pakistani recruits, acquitted itself well during the war.[7]

Qatar signed a contract with the German defence company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) for the delivery of 24 artillery systems PzH 2000 and 62 LEOPARD 2 main battle tanks.[8]

The US DSCA announces that Qatar wants to join its neighbor the UAE, and field 2 medium-range THAAD batteries of its own.

Their request is worth up to $6.5 billion, and includes up to 12 THAAD Launchers, 150 THAAD missiles, 2 THAAD Fire Control and Communications units, 2 AN/TPY-2 THAAD Radars, and 1 Early Warning Radar (EWR). The USA would also sell them the required trucks, generators, electrical power units, trailers, communications equipment, fire unit test & maintenance equipment, system integration and checkout, repair and return, training, and other support.[9]

Major Army units


Tanks and vehicles

Fire Support / Artillery

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
AMX F3 155mm  France Self-propelled howitzer 22 Being replaced by PzH2000
PzH 2000 155mm  Germany Self-propelled howitzer 24
G5 155mm  South Africa Towed howitzer 12 G5 155mm towed howitzer[18] - to be replaced by PzH 2000[11]
BM-21 Grad 122mm  Soviet Union Multiple Rocket Launcher Unknown
Astros II MLRS  Brazil Multiple Rocket Launcher 3 127mm SS-30 or 180mm SS-40
HIMARS  United States Multiple Rocket Launcher 7 In December 2012, Qatar notified the U.S. of a possible Foreign Military Sale of 7 M142 HIMARS systems, as well as 60 M57 MGM-140 ATACMS Block 1A T2K unitary rockets and 30 M31A1 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) unitary rockets. The deal would cost an estimated $406 million.[19]


Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
Anti-aircraft missiles
Patriot PAC-3  United States Surface-to-air missile 11 In 2012 Qatar requested 11 Patriot PAC-3 launchers and 246 PATRIOT MIM-104E Guidance Enhanced Missiles.[21]
Rapier  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile 18 18 launchers with 250 missiles & 6 Blindfire Radars
Roland  France Surface-to-air missile 9 In 1986 Qatar ordered 3 self-propelled Roland 2 systems on the AMX-30R chassis and 6 shelter-mounted systems with 200 missiles. Deliveries were completed in 1989.[22]
THAAD  United States Surface-to-air missile 12 In 2014 Qatar ordered 12 THAAD Launchers, 150 THAAD missiles, 2 THAAD Fire Control and Communications units, 2 AN/TPY-2 THAAD Radars, and 1 Early Warning Radar (EWR).[23]
Blowpipe  United Kingdom Surface-to-air missile 6 6 launchers with 50 missiles
Mistral  France Surface-to-air missile 24 24 launchers with 500 missiles
Stinger  United States Surface-to-air missile 12 12 launchers with 60 missiles

Small arms

Qatar Emiri Air Force

Main article: Qatar Air Force

The Qatar Emiri Air Force was formed in 1974, three years after achieving independence from Great Britain in 1971. Initially equipped with ex-RAF Hawker Hunters, the air force soon began expansion with six Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets in 1979. Fourteen Dassault Mirage F1 were delivered between 1980-84. After the Gulf War, Qatar's air force infrastructure was upgraded by France for $200 million, leading to the order of nine single seat Mirage 2000-5DEA multi-role combat aircraft and three two seat Mirage 2000-5DDA combat trainers in August 1994. Deliveries started in December 1997, and involved the buy back of the remaining 11 Mirage F1s by France that were later sold on to Spain.,[27] The current commander of the Qatar Emiri Air Force is Brigadier General Mubarak Mohammed Al Kumait Al Khayarin.

British pilots in Oman remain on duty with the air force, and French specialists are employed in a maintenance capacity. Nevertheless, an increasing number of young Qataris have been trained as pilots and technicians.

Its units include:

As of January 1993, all the air force's aircraft were based at Doha International Airport.[28]

Air Force equipment

Qatari Mirage F1
Qatari Dassault Mirage 2000 fighter jet flying over Libya during Military intervention
Aircraft Origin Type Versions In service Notes
Dassault Mirage 2000  France Multirole fighter Mirage 2000-5 14 Operated by the 7th Air Superiority Squadron, first delivery 1997
Dassault Rafale  France Multirole fighter Rafale 0 18 single-seat and 6 two-seat versions on order (24)[29]
Boeing F-15E  United States Strike fighter 0 In April 2016, Qatar requested the purchase of 36 Boeing F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft[30]
Boeing 737 AEW&C  United States Airborne early warning and control Boeing 737 AEW/C 0 3 on order[31]
Airbus A330 MRTT  Europe Aerial refuelling and transport A330 MRTT 0 2 on order[31]
Dassault Falcon 900  France VIP transport 2
Airbus 340  France VIP transport 2
Airbus 320


Airbus 310


Airbus 300

Boeing 747-SP
 United States


Boeing C-17 Globemaster III  United States Strategic air transport C-17A 4

One aircraft operated by Qatar Amiri Flight, 4 entered service between 2009-2012. Four more are on order as of June 2015.[32]

Boeing 707  United States VIP transport 2
Boeing 727  United States VIP transport 1
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules  United States Tactical air transport C-130J-30 4 All entered service in 2011
Piper Cherokee  United States Training and Liaison PA-28 Archer 10
Piper PA-34 Seneca  United States Training and Liaison PA-34 Seneca 4
Pilatus PC-21   Switzerland Basic & Advanced Trainer aircraft PC-21 0 24 on order[33]
Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet  France Advanced trainer/light attack Alpha Jet E 6 Operated by the 6th Close Support Squadron
Boeing AH-64 Apache  United States Attack helicopter AH-64D 0 24 on order[31]
NHIndustries NH90  Europe Medium transport NH-90 0 12 on order[31]
NHIndustries NH90  Europe Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface unit warfare (ASuW) NFH-90 0 10 on order[34]
Westland Lynx-HC28
 United Kingdom

3 (status unknown)

Aérospatiale Gazelle  France Utility/attack helicopter SA 342G (12)/L (2) 14 Operated by 6th Close Support Squadron
Sikorsky UH-60R Sea Hawk
 United States
ASW helicopter

6 ordered
AgustaWestland AW139  Italy 18 Tactical transport, 3 medivac 21
Sikorsky S-92  United States VIP transport 2
Westland Commando  United Kingdom Transport/utility and maritime patrol helicopter Commando 2A, 2C and 3 variants 12-13 Commando 2A/2C are operated by 9th Multirole Squadron

Commando 3 are operated by 8th Anti Surface Vessel Squadron

Historical Aircraft


Other equipment

Future aircraft

In May 2015, the Air Force signed a deal for 24 Dassault Rafale fighters worth €6.3 billion ($7 billion). This deal makes Qatar the third export customer for the fighter after Egypt and India.[38]

Government of Qatar has signed an agreement with Boeing to buy additional four C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, aimed to support Qatar Armed Forces' (QAF) ongoing airlift requirements.[39]


Qatar has a small 1,800-man navy, including its marine police force and coastal defence artillery. Since 1990, the Qatari Navy has increased its manpower.

The main navy bases are located in Doha and Halul Island.[40] The commander of the Navy is Commodore Mohammed Nasser al-Mohanadi.



Special Maritime Forces

Missiles and Equipment

Future Acquisitions

The patrol boat program calls for the delivery of six patrol boats with the first unit beginning construction in 2012 and being delivered by 2014. Although the proposals for the corvette program are due in the near-term as well, AMI believes that the four corvettes may not begin construction for several more years as Damen/Nakilat may want to gain some experience with the smaller 62-meter patrol boat hulls prior to moving on the larger Sigma hulls. If the QENF wishes to move the corvette program forward to an earlier date, it could start some of the hull blocks at Nakilat and/or at Damen in the Netherlands much earlier.[41]

The Qatar Coast Guard Services placed an order for 17 new fast patrol boast from Turkish company ARES Shipyard. The deal of 17 vessels consists in 10x "ARES 110 Hercules" multi-role patrol craft 117 tons, 5x "ARES 75 Hercules" multi-role patrol craft 58 tons and 2x "ARES 150 Hercules" multi-role patrol craft 245 tons. These Fast Patrol Boats will be constructed using advanced composite materials and are expected to be completed within the next 5 years.[42]

March 31, 2014. Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar (NDSQ) and Qatar Armed Forces have signed two MoUs for the construction of seven vessels at Qatar’s premier shipyard ($851 million). The MoUs signed by NDSQ and Qatar Armed Forces concern six 50m-long axe-bow high-speed patrol vessels and one 52m-long diving support vessel for the Qatar Armed Forces. The diving support vessel includes decompression capabilities. A large Integrated Logistic Support package is also mentioned in the MoUs.[43]

June 16, 2016. Qatar has signed a letter of agreement with Italian shipyard Fincantieri to build four 100 m. corvettes (3,000 tonnes and have a helicopter deck and hangar, weapons: Aster 30 in vertical launchers and short-range Raytheon RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missiles. Their other armament will consist of MBDA Excocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles, a single 76 mm Super Rapid gun, and two 30 mm guns), a Landing Helicopter Dock (The LPD will be similar to the Fincantieri built Algerian amphibious transport dock Kalaat Béni Abbès and two Offshore Patrol Boats. The deal has a worth of €4.9 billion.[44]

See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Qatar Armed Forces.
  1. 1 2 "The SIPRI Military Expenditure Database". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  2. U.S. and Qatar Sign Pact to Update Bases, December 12, 2002
  3. Hagel Lifts Veil on Major Military Center in Qatar, New York Times
  4. "Trends in International Arms Transfer, 2014". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  5. The Gulf War with the 401TFW/614TFS Lucky Devils Archived November 22, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
  6. Qatar premier defends military participation. (2011-03-22). Retrieved on 2013-09-26.
  7. John Pike. "Qatari Amiri Land Force". Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  8. "Gulf States Requesting ABM-Capable Systems". Defense Industry Daily. 2 October 2014. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  10. 1 2 3 Qatar Orders 24 PzH 2000 Self-Propelled Howitzers and 62 Leopard 2 A7+ Main Battle Tanks -, April 18, 2013
  11. "Report: Qatar To Order 118 German Battle Tanks". Defense News. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  12. "Qatar Qatari army land ground forces military equipment armoured armored vehicle intelligence UK - Army Recognition". 2012-07-14. Retrieved 2012-08-06.
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  18. Qatar Requests Sale of HIMARS, ATACMS and GMLRS -, December 24, 2012
  19. $23.9B in Deals Announced on Last Day of DIMDEX -, 27 March 2014
  22. Jane's Special Forces Recognition Guide, Ewen Southby-Tailyour (2005), p. 446
  23. Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 9780710628695
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  27. Tran, Pierre (2015-05-03). "Qatar Deal Helps France Set Export Record". Retrieved 2015-09-19.
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  30. Defense Daily (2015-06-15). "Qatar Purchases Four C-17s Defense Daily Network". Retrieved 2015-09-19.
  31. Reed Business Information Limited. "Qatar signs deal for 24 Pilatus PC-21s". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  32. "Qatar to buy 22 French military helicopters". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  33. Qatar Armed Forces Sign Contract for 18 AW139 Helicopters – ASDNews. Retrieved on 2011-03-28.
  34. "The Qatar Armed Forces Order Three EMS-Configured AW139s" Archived May 5, 2014, at the Wayback Machine. Agusta Westland 21 March 2011
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  36. "France sells 24 Rafale to Qatar in a 7 billion-deal". 30 April 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  37. "Qatar to purchase four Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters".
  38. RSN Singh (2008). Asian Strategic and Military Perspective. Lancer Publishers. p. 388. ISBN 978-8170622451.
  39. "News - Doha international Maritime Defence Exhibition And Conference". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  40. Administrator. "Qatar Coast Guard Services orders 17 new fast patrol boats from ARES Shipyard at DIMDEX 2014". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  41. "Qatar Armed Forces sign MoU for QAR 3.1bn - Damen Shipyards Sharjah (FZE)". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
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