British Aerospace Enterprise plans to offer its services to Qatar’s Nakilat Damen Shipyards, a joint venture inaugurated last year Image Credit: Supplied

Manama: British Aerospace Enterprise (BAE) Systems, a defence and security company that delivers products and services for air, land and naval forces, is exploring maritime equipment business opportunities in Qatar, a senior company official has said.

"We are looking at consolidating our presence in Qatar and we are exploring opportunities to offer our services at the Nakilat Damen Shipyards," Louise Robson, Head of Communications - East, BAE Systems, told Qatar Tribune daily.

The Nakilat Damen Shipyards Qatar, a joint venture between Qatar Gas Transport Company Ltd (Nakilat) and Damen Shipyards Qatar Holding, a wholly owned subsidiary of Damen Shipyards Group, was inaugurated last year.

The ship construction facility located at Ras Laffan port can manufacture commercial, naval and coast guard vessels besides luxury yachts.

Robson said the company was still doing feasibility studies and does not have any immediate plans.

"We are definitely looking at developing partnership with our customers. In Qatar, we are looking at a partnership which would be on similar lines that we have in the UAE where we are assisting the Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company (GAMCO) in supporting the existing Hawk fleet," she said.

Long-term sustainable partnerships such as BAE's agreement with Mubadala to work together to develop the UAE's aerospace industry could be another model, she said.

In 2009 BAE Systems Surface Ships formed a joint venture with Abu Dhabi Ship Building to create Gulf Logistics and Naval Support, which is a leading provider of through-life naval support services in the Middle East region.

Robson said that Qatar Armed Forces were evaluating the Typhoon aircraft. "We are hopeful that they will acquire it soon."

Another area in which Qatar would be interest is technology for border and coast guard security, she said.

"Recently BAE Systems successfully demonstrated a prototype device that would serve as an effective non-lethal deterrent against pirate attacks on commercial vessels such as oil tankers and container ships and this technology would be of interest to many countries in the region," Robson said. "In order to help combat the growing piracy threat BAE Systems conducted a study of pirate's behaviour and a company- wide capability survey. This led to the development of the concept of using a non-lethal laser, which would leave only temporary effects, to distract and deter potential attackers from a distance," she said.