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Qatar purchases $677m worth of Apache helicopters from US

Move comes as Qatar slashes domestic budget, with cuts hitting museums and Al-Jazeera
Qatar has purchased two-dozen Apache military helicopters from the US at a price of $677m (AFP)

Despite budgetary cuts, Qatar has purchased two-dozen Apache military helicopters from the US at the price of $677m.

According to the local online outlet Doha News, the tiny but wealthy country signed a contract with the US Department of Defence on Tuesday.

While Qatar has intended to acquire the Boeing-made helicopters since 2012, the full transaction will not happen until late May in 2020.

The military deal also consists of other equipment, radio sets and a trainer.

Apache helicopters are equipped with laser-guided missiles and high-powered machine guns.

Other Gulf countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia, also have Apache helicopters as part of their aerial arsenal.

This purchase is part of a surge of military equipment pursued by Qatar. In 2014, the US signed an $11bn arms deal with the oil-rich country, according United Press International.

The deal comes at a time when Qatar has slashed its domestic budget, cutting funding to its museums and its state-funded news outlet, Al-Jazeera.

Qatar has conducted military operations in both Syria and Yemen. It has flown fighter jets over Syria as part of the anti-IS coalition and has sent hundreds of soldiers to Yemen to fight against a Houthi insurgency.

The country is expected to continue military arms purchases with the US, according to Reuters.

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