Qatar will sign a deal to buy as many as 36 St. Louis-made Boeing F-15 fighter jets from the U.S. as the two countries navigate tensions over President Donald Trump’s backing for a Saudi-led coalition’s move to isolate the country for supporting terrorism.
Qatari Defense Minister Khalid Al-Attiyah and his U.S. counterpart, Jim Mattis, completed the $12 billion agreement on Wednesday in Washington, according to the Pentagon.
The sale “will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
Congress last year approved a sale of as many as 72 F-15s in an agreement valued at as much as $21 billion, providing authorization for the deal completed Wednesday. But that was before Qatar’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, severed diplomatic, trade and transport links last week in a move they said was aimed at isolating the country for its support of terrorist groups and Iran.
The F-15 is assembled by Boeing in St. Louis County, but a network of suppliers mean the job impact of a Qatar deal will be widespread. Qatar’s Defense Ministry said the deal would create 60,000 jobs in 42 U.S. states.