Last month Kuwait signed a contract for the supply of 28 Eurofighter Typhoons, and in so doing became the eighth customer for the multirole fighter.
The deal was announced last September, but its completion was held up by contractual negotiations. Italy led the sale on behalf of the four Eurofighter partner nations. Worth a reported $9 billion-plus, the contract not only covers the aircraft, but also a comprehensive training and support package, including the construction of new buildings at Ali Al Salem air base. Kuwait is scheduled to receive its first two aircraft in the last quarter of 2019, with deliveries expected to be completed during 2022.
Kuwait’s Typhoons – comprising 22 single-seaters and six two-seaters – will be from Tranche 3 production, and will be outfitted with the Captor E AESA (active electronically scanned antenna) radar from the start. The sensor is being developed under a contract from the Typhoon partner nations, but has not yet been procured for their aircraft.
Produced by the Euroradar consortium led by Finmeccanica (formerly Selex ES), Captor E offers enhancements in terms of performance and multirole capability over the current Captor M mechanically scanned radar.
Unlike most other AESA radars, which have a fixed antenna, Captor E features a slanted antenna mounted on a repositioner. By rotating the assembly, the field of regard of the radar can be enlarged from the 120° of a typical fixed antenna to greater than 180°. Kuwait will also receive weapons such as the MBDA Meteor long-range air-to- air missile to complement the capabilities of the radar.
For Eurofighter the Kuwaiti order represents a welcome sale in a region where the rival Dassault Rafale has recently been successful, scooping fighter deals in Egypt and Qatar. For some time the consortium has been working towards securing a follow-on order for Typhoons from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is in the process of receiving 72 aircraft from its first order. Oman is also a customer, with the first of 12 on order entering the final assembly process in February this year.