The Qatari and British governments have signed an agreement for the potential sale of 24 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets worth several billion dollars in another move by Doha to bolster its military amid a spat with four of its Arab neighbors, Fox Business reported on Sunday.
The deal is also a boost for plane maker BAE Systems PLC, which is seeking to keep Typhoon fighter plane production humming.
British Defense Minister Michael Fallon signed an agreement with his Qatari counterpart for the planes on Sunday. Mr. Fallon said this was the first major defense contract with Qatar and took years to arrange.
The deal for military planes from the UK comes amid a monthslong regional diplomatic spat between Qatar and a Saudi Arabia-led bloc, in which Doha has sought to cement its international ties and burnish its military credentials.
Some of the moves, however, have added to the strain.
The tiny but gas-rich Gulf state earlier this year signed a deal to buy 72 F-15 combat aircraft from Boeing Co. in a deal valued at $12 billion. The Middle East country a year ago agreed to buy France's Rafale combat jet, made by Dassault Aviation.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic relations with Qatar in June, accusing their neighbor of supporting terrorism and meddling in their internal affairs.
Regional tension with Iran and the fight against Islamic State have kept an appetite among Middle East countries for the newest defense equipment despite the sharp drop in oil prices since the middle of 2014.