Dubai Airshow

Boeing and Eurofighter Vie for Kuwait Fighter Order

 - November 9, 2015, 11:30 AM
Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet already has Harpoon missile capability for the all-important anti-ship mission while Eurofighter’s Typhoon undergoes trials of the MBDA Marte-ER, seen here.

In the Gulf region there are a number of fighter requirements that remain to be resolved. One that is believed to be nearing fruition is that of Kuwait, where both Boeing (F/A-18E/F Super Hornet) and Eurofighter (Typhoon) are awaiting decisions.

In September, an announcement was made that Kuwait had agreed on a deal to purchase 28 Typhoons, with Italy leading the sale on behalf of the four Eurofighter partner nations. Little has been released about subsequent negotiations, but UK defense procurement minister Philip Dunne said yesterday at the Dubai Airshow that the UK government was, “looking forward to a contract being signed soon.”

Eurofighter is not discussing details of the Kuwaiti deal while negotiations are ongoing, preferring to highlight recent developments in increasing the Typhoon’s operational effectiveness with new weapon options. Last Friday, a Storm Shadow stand-off weapon was released from a Typhoon for the first time, while trials with the MBDA Marte-ER anti-ship missile are beginning. Both weapons will significantly add to the Typhoon’s repertoire. If the deal is concluded, Kuwait’s Typhoons are expected to be delivered with AESA radar.

Meanwhile, Boeing has been discussing the supply of a number of Super Hornets–possibly 28–to Kuwait, which currently operates the F/A-18C/D “legacy” versions of the Hornet. It is likely that Kuwait will proceed with both Typhoon and Super Hornet deals. “We understand it’s a split buy,” remarked Jeff Kohler, v-p International Sales for Boeing Defense, Space and Security (BDS).

Holding up Boeing’s bid to conclude a deal with Kuwait–and those with other nations in the region–is a delay in obtaining U.S. Congressional approval. “We’re a little frustrated,” admitted Kohler, “but it all seems to be moving in the right direction. We’re just waiting for the Congressional approval so we can get the program moving.” Meanwhile Paul Oliver, BDS’s v-p international business development for the Middle East and Africa, added, “We think we will see some movement early next year.”