ROME — European missile producer MBDA has signed a deal worth more than €1 billion to supply Qatar with missiles for new naval vessels it is buying from Italy.

The contract, signed by MBDA Italia, covers Exocet MM40 Block 3 anti-ship missiles as well as Aster 30 Block 1 and VL MICA air defense missiles, the firm said in a statement.

The contract follows the signing of a letter of award covering the deal in Rome on June 16, the same day that Qatar signed a €3.8 billion (US $5.1 billion) contract to buy seven naval vessels from Italy's Fincantieri shipyard.

Qatar is acquiring four corvettes, one landing platform dock and two offshore patrol vessels, with a six-year construction program due to start at Fincantieri's Italian yards in 2018.

Italian firm Leonardo-Finmeccanica will provide combat systems for all the vessels and take a third share of the €3.8 billion contract, with the corvette radars to be based on the multi-functional radar the firm has previously built for Italy's FREMM frigates.

MBDA is owned jointly by Airbus Group (37.5 percent), BAE Systems (37.5 percent), and Leonardo-Finmeccanica (25 percentt).

Tom Kington is the Italy correspondent for Defense News.

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