Procurement: Eurofighters Gets An Arabian Lifeline

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November 22, 2015: In September Kuwait agreed to purchase 28 Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircraft. This includes (22 single seat and six twin-seat versions. This deal was made with the Italians, who are part of a multinational consortium that produced the Typhoon.

The contact is still in negotiation phase and its final price is rumored to be something around $9 billion. The latest Eurofighter purchase was for about $125 million per aircraft. That cost can more than double depending on what your training, spare parts, maintenance equipment, long term service agreements and special facilities needs are. Kuwait wants long term (for the next 20 years) customer support and lots of it.

The Eurofighter Typhoon is a twin-engine, canard-delta wing, firstly thought as pure air to air interceptor which evolved to multirole fighter. Typhoon began in 1983 when Italy, Germany, France, Britain and Spain launched the Future European Fighter Aircraft program. Later disagreements over design authority and operational requirements caused France to leave the program. The first prototype made its first flight on 27 March 1994. Eurofighter has a maximum speed of 2,450 kilometers an hour and a maximum range of about 3,700 kilometers. It is equipped with a 27mm cannon and can carry nearly eight tons of weapons. Weapon selection is quite wide including both American and European made missiles, bombs and cruise missiles. It is a battle tested aircraft that has already seen service in Afghanistan, Libya and now in Syria/Iraq. No planes have been lost in combat but three were destroyed in accidents.

The Eurofighter consortium stated that with the planes purchased by Kuwait the total number of ordered fighters will rise to 599. So far 444 have been delivered to program partner countries and foreign buyers:  Austria, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

The sale is big surprise because no long ago Kuwait was close to signing a contract for American F-18Es. However the fact that Kuwait is buying only 28 Typhoons to replace its current fleet of 39 F-18s suggests either they have plans for a follow-on order in the future, or that they intend to buy a second fighter from another source which isn’t uncommon in the area (for example Saudi Arabia operates F-15C alongside Eurofighters). The latter solution seems unlikely for such a small country like Kuwait to do due high cost and complexity. For more this contact might be impulse to speed Eurofighter upgrade program, which some of the partner nations especially: Germany, Italy and Spain are reluctant to finance. -- Przemys&&22;aw Juraszek

 

 


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