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Kuwait shows Caracal helicopter equipped to launch anti-ship missiles

A still from a video released by the Kuwait Army shows Sheikh Talal Khaled al-Ahmad al-Sabah inspecting an H225M with a launcher for MBDA Exocet anti-ship missiles during a visit to the Ali al-Salem Air Base. (Kuwait Army)

At least two of the Kuwait Air Force's (KAF's) new Airbus H225M Caracal helicopters have been equipped for the anti-ship role, it was revealed on 5 February, when the emirate's acting defence minister visited the Ali al-Salem Air Base.

Media coverage showed Sheikh Talal Khaled al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who also serves as the deputy prime minister and interior minister, inspecting two Caracals at the base, one of which was fitted with a missile-launch rail labelled as an MBDA product and a surveillance radar under its chin. The addition of the radar means the electro-optical sensor is mounted higher on the nose than on the H225Ms previously seen in Kuwaiti service.

This helicopter was numbered 622, making it the second to be seen with this sensor arrangement after 623, which was photographed at Airbus Helicopters' Marseilles plant in July 2021.

This version of the Kuwaiti H225M looks the same as the one that Airbus Helicopters and its Brazilian subsidiary Helibras developed for the Brazilian Navy, with the first delivered in November 2021. This is equipped with a Telephonics APS-143 maritime search radar and can launch MBDA Exocet AM39 Block2 Mod2 anti-ship missiles.

The missile system is controlled by a Naval Tactical Data Management System, which integrates data from the helicopter's avionics and sensors, enabling the operator to see all the relevant information on a single screen.

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