Qatar has allocated $1.8 billion to modernize Al Udeid Air Base, the main air base the United States uses in its military and counterterrorism operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
According to Deputy Commander of the Qatari Air Force Maj. Gen. Ahmed Ibrahim Al Malki, the expansion is aimed at accommodating new types of aircraft, including French Rafale fighter jets, American F-15 fighters and Eurofighter Typhoon jets.
Qatar signed a $6.2 billion contract with Boeing for 36 F-15s and a $6.38 billion contract with BAE Systems to buy 24 Typhoons.
The air base project includes the construction of housing complex and service buildings to support joint security efforts between Qatar and the U.S., as well as improving the quality of life of the troops residing at the air base.
According to Qatari Defense Minister Khaled bin Mohammed al-Attiyah, 200 housing units are part of the development plan, as are new warehouses and training and maintenance facilities.
“These construction projects represent a transition from an expeditionary environment with temporary facilities, to a base with an enduring infrastructure capable of sustaining long-term operations,” a U.S. Air Force spokesman noted.
The base, located 30 kilometers southwest of the capital, Doha, is home to thousands of the U.S. and international coalition forces, making Al Udeid one of the most important bases in the Arabian Gulf region.
As part of its contribution to the fight against terrorism, Qatar offered the U.S-led coalition use of Al Udeid to launch airstrikes against Daesh.
Sources: Reuters, The Washington Post, al-Sharq.com