Kuwait has finally signed a contract with Finmeccanica for 28 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft, Finmeccanica reported on Tuesday 5 April. The signature was inked in Kuwait and comes after long negotiations that resulted in an bilateral agreement between the governments of Kuwait and Italy. It is Finmeccanica’s largest commercial contract ever.
Kuwait purchases 22 single seat and six two seater Typhoons for an estimated 8 billion USD. The contract includes logistics, operational support and the training of flight crews and ground personnel, which will be carried out in cooperation with the Italian Air Force. Kuwaiti pilots already receive flight training at Lecce airbase in southern Italy. The contract also provides for the upgrade of ground-based infrastructure in Kuwait which will be used for Typhoon operations.
The Typhoons for Kuwait will be the first to be equipped with the new active electronically scanned array (AESA) E-Scan radar. The radar is developed by the European EuroRADAR consortium which is led by Finmeccanica.
The aircraft will be build at Finmeccanica’s facility in Turin. The facility hosts an assembly line for Typhoon and produces parts for other Typhoon assembly lines as well. The facility so far only saw final assembly of Typhoons destined for Italy.
“This is Finmeccanica’s largest ever commercial achievement”, said Mauro Moretti, Finmeccanica CEO and General Manager. “It is an outstanding industrial success with significant benefits, not only for our company and the other Eurofighter consortium partners, but also for the entire Italian aerospace industry.”
UPDATED 31 January | Kuwait and Italy are on course to sign the bilateral Eurofighter Typhoon deal on Sunday 31 January, officials in Rome confirmed to Airheadsfly.com on Wednesday. The contract signature should conclude months of talks between the two countries.
Update: no news came to light on Sunday on the contract being signed, although talks are said to continue.
The Kuwaiti interest for 28 Typhoons first came to light last September and concerns 22 singe seat and 6 two seater aircraft. The jets are to be manufactured in FNM Aeronautics facility in Turin. The order could also involve Typhoons originally destined for the Italian Air Force.
Meanwhile, Kuwait is said to be also still interested in buying Boeing F-18 Super Hornets. Talks on that have dragged for quite some time. More on potential fighter jet deals in the Middle East is here.
Fighter jet deals worth billions of US dollars hang in the balance in the Middle East as they have been doing for a number of years, but things could be moving along now following the apparent ease between Iran and the West. Or did Kuwait and Qatar already make up their mind?
It is no secret that Kuwait is looking to purchase 28 Boeing Super Hornets to replace its fleet of older F/A-18C/D Hornets, and that Qatar has been seeking to buy up to 72 variants of Boeing’s F-15 Strike Eagle.
Both orders would come in handy to keep production lines in the US open, particularly the Super Hornet line. A batch of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) EA-18 Growlers is now in manufacturing and after that it will likely be the end of production for the F-18 Hornet and its variants.
Unless of course Kuwait indeed orders its Super Hornets. A deal never seemed close however, and the reason could very well be that the US did not want to spoil improving relations with shia-Islam orientied Iran by supplying advanced warfare machines to opposing sunni countries such as Qatar and Kuwait.
That standpoint may change now that the relationship with Iran seems on its way to normalization. On the other hand however, there’s also Israel to be taken into account. That country upgrading its F-15I Ra’am (Thunder) jets and won’t be very happy to see more Arab states getting similar capabilities, also considering the fact that Saudi Arabia already has an impressive fleet of F-15s – and another 84 new-build F-15SAs (Saudi Advanced) are on their way between now and 2019. The US may be sensitive to this also.
The coming months should tell if there will ever be Qatari F-15s and Kuwaiti Super Hornets. And finally, if there will ever be Iraqi Air Force Mirage 2000s, as the United Arab Emirates are reportedly looking to hand over some of their Mirages to Baghdad.
After 21 years and 279 aircraft procuded, the curtain falls for Boeing C-17 Globemaster III production in Long Beach, California. The final C-17 left the production facility on Sunday 29 November on it’s way to another Boeing facility in Texas in preparation for delivery to the Qatar Emiri Air Force next year.
Qatar is one of nine operators of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, the military transport aircraft that first flew on 15 September 1991 from Long Beach. The US Air Force is the largest operator by far, taking 223 aircraft. The last USAF-delivery took place in 2013.
Over the last decade, India quickly became the second largest operator, counting 10 Globemaster. Australia and the UK both operate eight aircraft. Other operators are Canada, NATO, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Along with the UAE, Qatar was one of the operators to snatch up some of the last Globemasters remaining for sale. Ahead of closing down production, Boeing decided to produce a dozen or so ‘white-tail’ C-17s; aircraft with no formal customer. Other countries to take some of these aircraft were India, Australia and Canada.
Kuwait has bilaterally agreed to buy 28 Alenia Aermacchi made Eurofighter Typhoons in a competition that apparently left the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet defeated. The news came to light on Friday 11 September in Italy.
According to press agency Reuters, the deal is worth 7.5 billion EUR and a contract is to be signed within weeks. The deal is very good news for Eurofighter, which had a hard time selling the Typhoon to other nations other than founding partners Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Austria and Saudi Arabia and, in the future, Oman, are the only other nations flying the Typhoon. Eurofighter later on Friday said it ‘welcomes the agreement between Italy and Kuwait for the supply of 28 Eurofighter Typhoons’.
The order reportedly consists of 22 single seat and six two seat aircraft. The Kuwaiti Typhoons are to be manufactured in Alenia Aermacchi’s facility in Turin, where up until now only jets for the Italian Air Force were built, plus left wings for all Typhoons in existence.
Kuwait Air Force pilots have been getting flight training in Italy for some time, also flying Alenia Aermacchi-made aircraft. At Lecce airbase in southern Italy, the learn basic and advanced fighter jet techniques, using the Alenia Aermacchi MB-339.
For over two decades, Kuwait has been flying the Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet. These aircraft were hastily delivered after the 1991 Gulf War. For Boeing, the Kuwaiti choice could see the end of F/A-18E/F production. The US company was aiming at a Kuwaiti order to keep production going after completing current US and Australian orders.