Kuwait will buy 28 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets in a multibillion-dollar agreement with the Italian government, Defense News reported Friday. While the details of the deal are still to be negotiated, Kuwait has agreed to take 22 single-seat and six twin-seat Typhoons in the government-to-government pact.
The transaction is a major win for Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH -- the company that oversees the development of the Typhoon on behalf of the major aerospace companies of the countries that fund it -- as it breaks a run of deals that Middle Eastern countries have signed with French rival Dassault Aviation SA for its Rafale fighter.
The sale “reinvigorates other opportunities in the Gulf region for Typhoon,” an industry executive told Defense News.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is primarily used by the British, German, Italian and Spanish air forces. It costs between $90 million and $125 million per unit. Austria, Oman and Saudi Arabia have also purchased the aircraft.
Having Oman and Saudi Arabia as customers likely helped push through the deal with Kuwait, as Saudi Arabia is expected to buy more Typhoons. Bahrain has also shown initial interest.
The Alenia Aermacchi aerospace unit of the Italian industrial firm Finmeccanica SpA has been leading efforts to sell the Eurofighter to the Kuwaitis in recent months, fending off the competition of the U.S.-based Boeing Co. as well as Dassault. Kuwait was reportedly in negotiations to buy as many as 40 Boeing F/A-18 fighters as recently as May. Its current position on those aircraft is unknown at present, but Defense News reported the country may go for a split buy and purchase about 20 jets from Boeing.
Declining to name Kuwait as a potential buyer of its F/A-18 fighters, a Boeing representative told Defense News that the company was currently in negotiations with a Middle Eastern country.
France secured deals for its Dassault Rafale fighter with Egypt and Qatar this year. Deliveries to Egypt have already been made.