May 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 24 Apache helicopters and spare parts to Qatar for $3 billion.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification Thursday, notifying Congress of the possible foreign military sale.
The contract also includes four spare engines, as well as night vision sensors, fire control radars, radio frequency interferometers, warning system, GPS with inertial navigation, Hellfire missiles and launchers and rockets, as well as guns, government and contractor engineering and technical and logistics support services.
The proposed sale will support U.S. foreign policy and national security "by helping to improve the security of a friendly country that continues to be an important force for political and economic progress in the Middle East," according to the DSCA.
Qatar is host to the U.S. Central Command forces and serves as a critical forward-deployed location in the region, including protection of key oil and gas infrastructure and platforms.
The proposed sale of the helicopters will supplement the Qatar Emiri Air Force's previous procurement of 24 AH-64Es.
To support the requirement, military team members and 17 contractors would be deployed to Qatar for approximately three years.
The prime contractors will be Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General Electric, Longbow Limited Liability, Thales and Raytheon.
Boeing acquired the original manufacturer McDonnell Douglas. The first Apache was delivered to the U.S. Army in January 1984.
More than 2,200 Apaches have to customers around the world, including Egypt, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Britain.