Qatar has used the opening ceremony of 2018’s Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX) to announce the signing of a number of major defence agreement, including a manufacturing license with Italian small arms manufacturer Beretta.
Qatar has established a new defence company called Barzan Holdings, Barzan will oversee Qatar’s strategic procurement needs and have announced the signing of a series of joint ventures. One of these joint ventures is an agreement with Beretta to create a venture to be known as “Bindig,” the Qatari word for a rifle. Bindig Reportedly represents the first time Beretta has established a joint venture in the Middle East, the new company will manufacture Beretta pistols and rifles under licsense in Qatar.
The Beretta small arms produced under the Bindig name will be issued to the Qatar Armed Forces and other security and government agencies. Announcing the establishment of Barzan and the signing of a raft of agreements Dr. Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Chairman of Barzan Holdings, said at DIMDEX:
The State of Qatar is seeking to acquire the most innovative technologies, cutting-edge practices and methods, and to train human capabilities to ensure self-sufficiency in defence. To achieve this, Barzan Holdings was established as the official entity authorised to hold strategic partnerships with leading international companies in the military field, where joint projects will focus on building human and technological capital, research and development, and provide consultancy regarding conducting strategic procurement required by Qatar’s different military sectors.
In total Barzan have announced 21 joint ventures with defence industry partners from around the world covering numerous technology sectors. These include Raytheon, BMC, Rheinmetall and Wilcox Industries. Rheinmetall will help Barzan set up new ammunition manufacturing facilities to increase Qatari self-sufficiency.
Beretta will help Barzan establish a small arms manufacturing centre in Doha with research and development facilities. The Qatari military currently uses a mix of M16 and M4s, but the establishment of Bindig with Beretta means Qatar will probably be adopting the ARX series of rifles including the 5.56x45mm ARX160 and the 7.62x51mm ARX200. Press statements also suggest pistols will be manufactured by Bindig, these might include Beretta’s new APX and the tried and tested 92F. Qatar is the latest in a series of recent contracts won by Beretta following sales to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Argentina.
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