Kuwait to acquire 28 Eurofighter Typhoon jets
PARIS - The European Eurofighter consortium has signed a draft agreement to sell 28 of its fighter planes to Kuwait, online French newspaper La Tribune reported on Thursday.
Of the 28 outline sales, which are not yet binding, four are covered by options to purchase, the report said.
The report, citing various sources, said that Alenia Aermacchi, a subsidiary of Italian group Finmeccanica which is a member of the consortium, had obtained Kuwait's signature on the agreement a few days before Brazil announced that it had chosen to buy Gripen fighter planes made by Swedish company Saab.
Brazil chose the Gripen in preference to the Rafale made by French group Dassault Aviation and the F/A-18 Super Hornet plane made by US group Boeing.
Alenia Aermacchi is responsible alongside British aerospace and defence equipment group BAE Systems for promoting the Eurofighter Typhoon which is in competition for the Kuwait contract with the Rafale 3 and the Super Hornet.
The report said that if Kuwait did choose to buy the Eurofighter Typhoon, the decision would be a surprise given "the extent to which Kuwait is under American influence since the first Gulf war" in 1990-1991 to counter the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq.
Kuwait, which is already equipped with US-built F/A-18C/D Hornet fighter planes, wants to develop its fleet of fighters, the report said.
The Eurofighter consortium groups BAE Systems, Finmeccanica, and the European aerospace giant Airbus Group, which changed its name on January 1 from EADS.