How the $12 billion F-15 deal with Qatar will improve its Air Forces Capabilities

///How the $12 billion F-15 deal with Qatar will improve its Air Forces Capabilities

Bijan Razzaghi
In June the State Department approved the sale of 36 F-15QAs to Qatar. The deal is worth $12 Billion. The delivery of the 36 F-15s is a major upgrade to Qatars Air Force that previously only operated 9 Mirage 2000s. The F-15s along with 24 Dassault Rafael’s will give the Qatari Air Force a capability they previously did not have.
The F-15s being delivered to Qatar are based on the F-15E Strike Eagle, which is a multi role derivative of the F-15C Air Superiority Fighter. The F-15E has conformal fuel tanks which extends the Aircrafts range to 2400 miles. The aircraft is designed to engage both air and ground targets. The back seater in the F-15E can control the Lockheed Martin Sniper targeting pod which allows the aircraft to self designate and engage ground targets with JDAM gps guided bombs and PAVEWAY laser guided bombs. F-15E variants are also operated by Israel, Saudi Arabia , South Korea, and Singapore.
With these F-15Es Qatar for the first time will have a long range strike capability, yet it is unknown what weapon systems Qatar will purchase. Even with the F-15s Qatar does not have any tanker aircraft to refuel its fighters in flight. This limitation is what at the moment separates Qatars Air Forces capabilities from neighboring Air Forces such as Saudi Arabia or Kuwait. It is unknown is the F-15 delivery will effect Qatars poor relationship with Saudi Arabia.