KUWAIT: Kuwait will buy 28 Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets to replace a fleet of earlier versions of the US fighter jets, a top official said yesterday. The value of the deal is not expected to exceed $5 billion, the KUNA state news agency reported the head of armament and procurement at Kuwait’s defense ministry as saying. Maj Gen Lafi Al-Azmi said the deal stipulates the supplier will repurchase the old Hornet fighter jets from Kuwait. He added that details of the sale would only be disclosed after it is officially signed. “Given Kuwait’s proximity to turbulent locations, we certainly need effective military equipment,” he was quoted as saying.
The US State Department this month said it has authorized the deal, as well as the sale of 72 F-15 Strike Eagle jets to Kuwait’s Gulf neighbor Qatar at an estimated value of $21 billion. In April, Kuwait signed a contract with Italy’s Finmeccanica for the purchase of 28 Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes for under €8 billion ($8.5 billion). The National Assembly in March approved spending an additional $500 million as an advance payment for the jets.
That funding came on top of $10 billion additional defense spending already approved by parliament in January to upgrade the country’s military. Kuwait is a member of the US-led coalition bombing Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq, and is also taking part in a Saudi-led coalition pounding Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. Last year, it bought 24 Caracal military tactical transport helicopters and French light armored vehicles. – Agencies