British firm Serco signs first defense deal in Middle East

SercoBritish outsourcing firm Serco has signed its first defence contract in the Middle East, an approximately US$44mn deal, to deliver education courses to officers of the Qatar Armed Forces

Under the three-year contract with Qatar's Ministry of Defence, Serco will provide postgraduate-level military education courses for majors and lieutenant colonels in the navy, army and air force, in partnership with Britain's Ministry of Defence and King's College London, the firm said.

Serco, which operates services around the world from prisons to air traffic control, already does business with armed forces in the United States, Australia and Britain, where it also provides military education courses.

Duncan Mackison, Serco's managing director for defence in Britain and Europe, described the Qatar deal in a statement as a significant entry into the defence market in the Middle East.

Serco has traditionally operated in transport and facilities management sectors in the Middle East. It is now targeting work in other sectors such as defence, education and welfare support.

"This contract will further strengthen the ties between the UK and Qatar. The deal shows there is continued demand for the expertise of British firms worldwide," said Lord Livingston, UK minister for trade and investment.

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